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.