Sunday, August 7, 2016

TERF Wars and Trans-terrorism

How the most trans affirming Pagan tradition got labelled transphobic and why you should care.

Back when the Maetreum legal case first came to the attention of the Pagan community by an article on the Wild Hunt, one of the very first comments made on that article was that the Maetreum was not “worthy” of support because it was a “tranny” tradition. I kid you not...... Just yesterday I was called a TERF and transmisogynist in comments on the Wild Hunt on another article about Cherry Hill Seminary. The Maetreum was called transphobic and a claim was made we never ever ever helped any transwomen who were not post surgical! Both, by the way, are not true. I was the principle founder of the Cybeline Revival of which the Maetreum of Cybele is the main home and Temple. I was born intersexed myself, the three other women who bought the property originally (it is now owned by the incorporated Maetreum of Cybele) were all transsexual women. The very first women we took in for emergency housing were trans street girls of colour, literally the most at risk class. Sylvia Rivera, the transwoman often credited with starting the infamous Stonewall rebellion, planned to retire to the Maetreum had she survived her last bout with liver cancer. Our basic policies remain exactly the same today as they were then, so how did we get labelled transphobes you ask??? Big nosed Pagan wannabe trolls.  At the time, two years ago, when the following happened, we were at our most vulnerable, needing the support of the community as we were facing the loss of our home, our tradition, everything we had worked for over a decade to accomplish.

I have blogged here in the past  about what happened without naming names but since this just came up yet again on the Wild Hunt blog in comments several years later, it is time to call out the perps, as it were. Perp #1 is Lauren Ouellette-Bruchez, the woman who was about to move in to the Maetreum with her two husbands (which we were making a major exception for), about to start priestesses training with us and who left all her personal possessions clogging all the downstairs of the Maetreum and a dead car in our driveway at the exact time the Town of Catskill was attempting to condemn our property under zoning violations as a last ditch effort to force us out just as the final appeal was hitting the court. The stuff was here for literally months!

Perp #2 is Shauna Aura Knight, a relentless self promoting fraud who gives “leadership” workshops all around the Pagan circuit when her only leadership experience is leading those workshops! Further, having attended one of them hostessed here at the Maetreum, I can state without question she trashes actual Pagan leaders in those workshops carefully giving enough information to identify them without naming them specifically. The bitch did this to me based solely on the private whining by Lauren Ouellette-Bruchez that I somehow “triggered her” during the incident that she was actually actively interfering in a priestess of the Maetreum only matter, was told in no uncertain terms that was the case and yet still attempted an “intervention” against me personally with others who also were not priestesses of the Maetreum! Ms.Knight wrote a “hit piece” blog entry  aimed directly at myself, based on what she knew first hand was out and out lies and then proceeded to start posting on the Maetreum Facebook page that we were transphobic. She also started trashing us all over the internet and managed to totally dry up all the legal fund contributions at the very stage we needed them the most, nearly sabotaging eight years of legal battles. Knight and I never had contact prior to her visit despite her claiming otherwise, never had any actual face to face discussions because of the incident the only night she stayed with us. None of the exchanges Knight claims took place actually took place at all on our Facebook page because the priestesses conferred and we simply removed her nasty comments. Knight goes on to claim my successor was “co-dependent”! That, by the way, infuriated her and is about as untrue as it gets because she argues with me all the time, is encouraged to do so and is personally more empowered as a result of being part of the Maetreum than at any prior point in her life. She is even debating with me as I write this about whether or not we should publish it!

We had welcomed Ms. Knight into our home, allowed her to do her workshop for another Pagan group at the Maetreum and she was present when that night our home was attacked by a local bigot, our windows broken, threats were made to shoot up our house with an assault weapon and the local police refused to take a proper complaint. The supposed conversations she and I had never happened at all because of those events. Further, she promised to send us an affidavit supporting what had happened and never did so. At the time she was apparently quite sympathetic to what we had been experiencing.

Neither Shauna nor Lauren are in any fashion trans. They both accused me personally and the Maetreum of being transphobic.... I have a trans/intersexed medical history. If this can be done to me, it literally can be done to anyone regardless of how trans supportive they actually might be. This is why it is important to tell this. By the rules now being used all around Paganism, both should be “no platformed” everywhere at every Pagan event. Fair is fair because what they both did is the worst type of transphobic behaviour. Demands to ostracize other women have been made for much much much less. In addition, and a further indication of exactly how bigoted Ms. Knight actually is, she has blogged in the past that those on the autism spectrum should be excluded from Pagan groups for being too much of a distraction. When she gave her workshop at the Maetreum she repeated this in the presence of two women on the autism spectrum!!!! The younger one required counselling as a result. Knight is a bigot of the worst sort, that who believes she knows better than everyone else. 

Spread their shame, demand they be removed from any Pagan events in the future, do it because they are both liars and they slandered and libelled the Maetreum of Cybele that won the most decisive legal battle in the past twenty years for Pagan equality under the law.
Why write about this now? Because it won't go away. We waited hoping it would go away but it remains circulating in Pagan circles. Because women who have merely questioned the trans dogma have suffered loss of position and venues when Knight continues to go around claiming a position of moral superiority when she is actually an out and out bigot. Because Knight does not hesitate to out and out lie about actual leaders in the Pagan community and who knows how many others she is slandering as you read this. Call her out for her hypocrisy to talk about ethics when she clearly has none whatsoever. 90% of what she wrote about me simply never happened at all.

Because all of the negative things that have been repeated about the Maetreum trace back to Lauren and Knight, and that ain't right! Am I an opinionated strong willed woman? You're damn straight I am and I make no apology for that but I am also the very model of a so called leader who does not act unilaterally without the consensus of the other priestesses and our very organization was deliberately set up so I could not do so!... by me!

Call them out as I have done. They weaponized the desire to be supportive of transwomen against a woman of trans/intersexed history and literally the most trans supportive tradition in Paganism!  What they did is out and out abusive, like most victims of abuse, I felt I could not call this out until now.  As part of my own healing process, I need to address this abuse publicly on, not only my own behalf, but my sister priestesses and the Cybeline Revival we all dedicated our lives to.  Both of these women have done real world harm to the Cybeline Revival and it is past time to hold them accountable as that harm continues to this day.


Saturday, July 2, 2016

Gender Reality Checks

For every transsexual woman there are roughly 100 crossdressing, male identified transgenders.

Not one trans person has EVER suffered any physical harm from being excluded from a Dianic group.  Not...One...Single...One.

The cries of "you are killing us" are utter bullshit but what is real is that a core practice of today's so called transadvocates, trans and other wise IS the attempt to destroy the careers of any woman (it is almost always aimed at women) who opposes anything less than full "inclusion" (read forcing into women oriented groups that have the right to decide who joins them) and maximize the damage to their lives.  This is the very essence of gynophobia by the way.

Every single method of attack that so called TERFs are accused of was perfected by advocates of "transgender" against post operative transsexual and intersexed women for years, every damn one of them.   Personal knowledge on this one......

Women do NOT kill transwomen, men do.  Men with internalized homophobia who freak out after having or fantasizing about sex with "chicks with dicks" in almost all cases.  Almost all the victims are poor trans women of colour but it is white "transgenders" who scream "you are killing us" loudly.  Tell me how this is not appropriation of the experiences of a sub group they are not members of.

Anyone who's gender identity is so damn fragile that it is destroyed by someone mis-gendering them needs the therapy that transsexed women were forced into to get "permission" for body correction.  Is the experience of being mis-gendered annoying?  Oh hell yes, is it life threatening in any fashion?  Oh hell no.  Believe it or not, a lot of non-trans women experience being mis-gendered as well without being psychologically destroyed by it.

Having an innie is vastly different than having an outie psychologically, that is just a basic fact.

Transgender people today have a much much easier time "transitioning" because of the women who came before them but they attack and erase those same women.  Nobody knows this better than I do.  But you would never know this by all the pissing and moaning going on about "how hard it is"  Damn straight it's hard, trying learning from the experience instead of whining about it.   Those who came before had it much much worse, trust me.  Oh, all those things trans people claim are transphobic in nature almost always actually experiencing the loss of male privilege.  Almost all women experience it but you didn't know that did you?

The backlash by non-trans women was CAUSED by the excessive demands of the transgender movement, they literally invented it with over the top attacks on feminism.  It did NOT exist 15 years ago.  Forgotten by most is that NOW was trans-affirming LONG before HRC, GLAAD or any other gay rights group.

When a trans identified person joins a woman only group, it becomes all about the trans and issues important to non-trans women are often then put on the back burner or worse yet, declared "non-inclusive" and thus off limits.  I have personally witnessed this over and over and over.  This tends not to happen with women of transsexed or intersexed history who are happy to be included in the discussion in the first place.

Actual transsexual women have existed  in every human culture at every point in history.  The lesson from this is essential identity as female or male is not constructed and the difference between the central nervous system of men and women is real.   In the past 35 years more than 800 peer reviewed scientific studies have confirmed this.  But it is important to note, that actual transsexual women and intersexual women are a tiny minority within what is called "transgender" today.  So called "gender identity" is vastly more complex than either side wants to admit.   There are pre-natal central nervous system hardwiring components as well as socialization ones.  It is NOT either/or.

And I will leave you with one last thought:  Trans experience is the only one in human history where the "experts" are those who never actually finish the journey and those who do finish it are the heretics.  Think long and hard on that one folks.

Friday, July 1, 2016


You read them, we all read them, the "popular" blogs that often are little more than internet cliques for often relentless self promoting "leaders" who never seem to do much in the real world but endlessly give their opinions.

Paganism is lousy with them.  But a word on the offshoot of that problem, the comment trolls.   You know them, you've seen their nicknames in every comment thread.   They use the comment section of the blogs to boost their egos, never give their real world names and often reveal nothing personal about themselves but rather launch ad hominum attacks against anyone who actually comments about having done anything or offers an opinion that varies from the current revealed "truth".

They specialize in commenting from a presumed position of authority without challenge.   They take the "moral highground" without any facts because they trade in emotion, not substance.

Challenge them.  It's fun for the whole family.  Ask who they really are, what they have actually done in the real world.  Demand details of who they actually are because they are often straight out trolls getting their rocks off on taking down anyone who challenges anything or actually does anything in the real world.

Do it because they do real harm to those who try to make the world better or promote actual debate on complex issues.

Do it because that is how you change the dialogue from feel good bullshit to intelligent conversation... and we need that more than ever in a world that apparently is going bat shit crazy.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Another Open Letter to the Pagan Community on "Trans-jacking" Paganism and Misogyny

Dear Pagan community:

You were duped by a classic bait and switch.  How can I say this?  I was there during much of the history of the inclusion of the "t" in LGB, fought like hell for it back then.   I was there when "transsexuality" was essentially erased and then appropriated by "transgender" and I fought like hell against that as well.  Ironically against the LGB establishment in the form of the HRC and GLAAD.

There used to be a lot of transsexual voices on the internet, several years ago we all collectively decided that the constant attacks weren't worth it anymore and we all removed our blogs which may have been a mistake but one done when we "won" the medical battle with the revision of the DSM that finally decreed that when we corrected our bodies and our lives we were "cured" and the psychiatric community would then get the fuck out of our lives.  And we breathed a collective sigh of relief, and got on with our lives.  In the course of the battles leading up to that point we had to fight wholesale redefinitions of everything gender related to the point we had to constantly come up with new terms for concepts that had been understood up to then.

Back then there was maybe five active "TERFs" total on the internet and they were so hateful and vicious they were almost totally ignored.  They were the lesbian equivalent of the Westboro Baptist Church.  The term TERF was actually coined by a transgender bait and switch artist known to lie about pretty much every aspect of trans history and was done to provoke them.

A little history is in order.   Let's start with Stonewall.  It was a tranny uprising, and yes, I get to use that word because I came out with it being a playful term we used for ourselves and has a rich part in actual trans-history.  Gay men moved heaven and earth to erase that from their history, particularly those we came to call the "A"-Gays who ran the political side of gay rights, almost all rightwingers btw.  Sylvia Rivera is credited with starting the Stonewall riot.  I knew her, we respected each other and we both were together fighting her last battle before she died....... against the gay establishment in New York that cut deals to get their protection legally by trading off trans rights.  I was  at her funeral procession in the streets of New York City and had she survived her last bout with liver cancer, she planned to retire to the Maetreum of Cybele.

During the late eighties and early nineties was the heyday of the talk format tv shows.   Every "sweeps" week, when the ratings were decided, they competed to get the most provocative guests and that often was transsexual women.   The thing was transsexual women are statistically 2 points above the mean in intelligence and creativity, a medical fact.  We are smart and creative in other words.   These women did such a great job talking about the subject that they talked themselves out of sweeps week!  The talk shows had to switch to gender bending club kids and married crossdressers as a result.  Now for the shocker, I learned this many years later trying to make sense of why we had to fight the LGBs for our rights.   In the early nineties, HRC (Human Rights Campaign) did a survey in North Carolina of all places on public acceptance of gay rights and trans rights.   The gays came in at around 30% but trans rights came in at 80%!  Yes, you read that correctly, we had won the battle for hearts and minds of the general public thanks to the brave women of transsexual history who did the talk show circuit.  HRC freaked out...... especially when a bunch of us started a grassroots effort to lobby congress for trans civil rights.  Trans women from around the country came to DC to lobby, most of us poor as church mice on our own dimes.

HRC literally bought our DC organizer with a condo in Florida!  With her aid, they hit every democratic congressional office with pre-lobbying two weeks before each of our lobby days telling Senators and Congresscritter to "pay no attention to the crazy trannys".  How do I know this?   I was one of the best lobbyists and they took me aside, one after another and asked me "what the fuck is going on with this"??

Seven of us met at the end of one of the Lobby Day efforts at a restaurant in Bethesda, compared notes and went home determined to do something about this betrayal and we established the first actual grassroots organization to address the problem and confront HRC for their actions against our civil rights, NTAC.  HRC pulled out all the stops to stop us including setting up phoney groups "opposing our methods", accusing us of all sorts of misdeeds and eventually founded their own bought and paid for version with offices in their own building and tame trannys to run it.  At the same time they pushed for the "transgender" umbrella and tried to force transsexual and intersexed women under it.   Transgender was a term coined by an earlier crossdresser who hated transsexual women, so there was a lot of push back by us on that term.   Total war was waged on post operative women of transsexed and intersexed history with the aid of the A-Gays.  Why?  Because we came within a hair of winning our civil rights back then several times which would have made monkeys of the big money HRC who couldn't get any legislation passed.

When you hear the word transgender today, you are supposed to think of women of transsexual history but you are being sold a bill of goods because, for the most part, we left that movement and it means everyone else who messes with "gender", whatever the fuck that is.   You are pushing for crossdressing men, drag queens, sexual fetishists etc to be forced into woman only space without realizing it and you started knee jerk reacting to womens groups that objected to that without a clue that was what you were doing.  Why is it this is directed only at women?   You know why.

My own experience transitioning was I literally lost everything in my life but I was totally accepted into lesbian circles then with them knowing my history and that I was bisexual myself.   I used to tell transwomen that if they approached woman groups as women and not trans somethings, 99% of the time they would be accepted, I certainly found that true, even among the old school second wave feminists that it is oh so popular to trash these days.............  Other women like me found the same thing to be true.   But these days we want no part of these trans battles so for the most part you don't hear our voices.

I fully realize I am pissing into the wind with this but if a few wake up to the con job that is ripping Paganism apart, it was worth it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Maetreum of Cybele, a View from Outside the Pagan "Bubble"

As the Maetreum of Cybele continues to break new ground, the "mainstream" (can anything Pagan actually be mainstream?) Pagan blog-o-sphere continues to basically ignore us.  This used to piss me off but upon reflection is one of those accidental "gifts" in many respects.

I don't do a lot of updates to this blog because frankly, I work my butt off doing real world work.   Our community low power radio station for example takes up a lot of my time and effort.  I am personally producing about 43 hours a week of original programming, doing much of the bookkeeping and maintaining the equipment.  This past fall, despite only being on the air for a little over two months at that point, we hostessed a national community radio conference here at the Maetreum.  We are the first and only Pagan owned and operated broadcast radio station in America, that alone would have been crowed to the hills if someone besides us in the Pagan community had pulled it off, let alone turning around and hostessing a national radio conference to boot.

A little over a year ago we won an eight year legal battle for legal recognition of a Pagan "church", us, to equal treatment under the law.  This was considered a landmark case in legal circles, was even written up in the Washington Post and Forbes magazine but barely mentioned in the Pagan world.

Currently one of our priestesses is writing her doctorate thesis on the Cybeline Revival, the first time, to the best of our knowledge,  a Pagan Goddess tradition will be elevated to a field of academic study.   While other Pagan groups are recognized for gathering some canned goods to help those in need, we have been taking in, supporting and helping women bootstrap their lives back for well over a decade.  We even took a refugee from Nepal all the way through the minefield of getting asylum status from Homeland Security and the Immigration system after being told by so called "professional" immigration aid organizations we would never pull it off.

Our legal battle saw us ignored by every single Pagan rights organization and all the self appointed legal Pagans when we asked for help.

So remember, if you attend all those various Pagan conferences like Pantheacon this year, that while they are all talking about what they are going to do some time in the future, we've been doing it.... for years.

There, got that off my chest :)