Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-06-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Michfest to close doors after 40 Years, community responds
by Sarah Toce
2015-04-22

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Lisa Vogel, creator of the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival ( Michfest ), announced April 21 that the festival would close after this August.

In a message directed to Michfest fans via Facebook, Vogel wrote: "… the 40th Festival will be the last Michigan Womyn's Music Festival. The spirit of this community will live on forever, the friends and family we have found on the Land are eternal. Everything we have created together will feed the inspiration for what comes next. It's possible that I will come back with something else, or that other sisters will take the inspiration of the Michigan community and create the next expression of our Amazon culture. What is true for me is that now is the time to bring this 40-year cycle to a close, stepping out on joy at our most incredible anniversary celebration."

While the timing of the announcement may appear connected to the Equality Michigan petition asking for the fest to lift its intent on banning transgender women, the end has been in the works for years. Discussions were had both in front of and behind closed doors regularly regarding the festival's fate. Vogel reminded Michfest supporters about the limited lifespan of the festival.

"We have known in our hearts for some years that the life cycle of the festival was coming to a time of closure," she wrote. "Too often in our culture, change is met only with fear, the true cycle of life is denied to avoid the grief of loss. But change is the ultimate truth of life. Sisters—I ask you to remember that our 40 year Festival has outlived nearly all of her kin. She has served us well. I want us all to have the opportunity to experience the incredible full life cycle of our beloved festival, consciously, with time to celebrate and yes, time to grieve," Vogel wrote. Adding, "There have been struggles; there is no doubt about that. This is part of our truth, but it is not - and never has been - our defining story. The festival has been the crucible for nearly every critical cultural and political issue the lesbian feminist community has grappled with for four decades. Those struggles have been a beautiful part of our collective strength; they have never been a weakness."

Executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights ( NCLR ), Kate Kendell, admitted that the conclusion of Michfest was "widely discussed and openly rumored for years."

Kendell told Windy City Times: "The conclusion of Michfest was never the result we were seeking [in pushing for trans inclusion]. We hoped for Michfest to grow and to thrive as a place for all women/womyn—and yes, that includes trans women because trans women are women. It was our hope that Michfest would become a place for all women to feel honored, healed and cared for. … The fact that such a vision may not materialize is a huge loss." Kendell further emphasized, "I hope that the 40th Michfest will realize that vision and that others will take up the challenge to create a truly welcoming space for all women/womyn."

Kendell told Windy City Times she had a personal investment in seeing that this vision came to fruition. "NCLR will not close its doors until all women — and that includes trans women - are free from stigma, misogyny, threats, violence, and shame because of who they are."

NCLR and Kendell recently received strong pushback for removing their names from the Michfest petition. Kendell and her team had worked with Vogel and Equality Michigan for six months in an attempt to foster open communication and dialogue on the issue of trans women attending the festival.

"It has been my core belief for 20 years at NCLR that all women grow up in a culture that still to this day is steeped in sexism and misogyny. The idea that all women could come together and fixedly embrace their own power was, for me, an idea worth pursuing and a possibility worth chasing," Kendell told Windy City Times.

The National LGBTQ Task Force also removed their name from the petition.

"Regardless of today's announcement, our goal remains the same: that MichFest fully welcomes trans women as women. And since this is the last MichFest, it is a golden opportunity for organizers to end on a fully inclusive and historic note," said Rea Carey, executive director, National LGBTQ Task Force.

While many attendees are no doubt saddened by the impending loss of Michfest, it's not the sentiment experienced by all.

Leslie Giblett is a lesbian based in Seattle, an LGBTQ activist, board member, and supporter of various political and equal rights organizations.

"I have purposely never attended Michfest, although a number of my friends have," Giblett said. "I grew up in the '70s in the era where 'radical lesbians' and feminism were hardly defined by their delectation, non-inclusive policies regarding acceptance of heterosexuals as our allies, men in general, and specific exclusions of our trans brothers and sisters. I believe we, as women, and also our LGBTQ population, has much to gain by standing together. I think the days of Michfest are gone, especially in terms of dividing the community instead of bringing it together."

LGBT activist and politician Dana Beyer said, "While it would be unfortunate to fail to resolve this four-decade conflict directly, it would be fitting that the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival dies a natural death, having outlived its usefulness as an exclusive club that failed to adapt."

Beyer currently serves as the executive director of Gender Rights Maryland and is a Huffington Post columnist.

"Twenty years ago I learned the definition of 'transphobia' by looking at MichFest as a case study," said Andrew Lane, executive director of the Johnson Family Foundation and board chair of the Movement Advancement Project. "I understand that the festival matters deeply to some in our queer family, who are deeply aggrieved by its closure. But its demise is, in large measure, self-inflicted—the result of having taken a bath in unapologetic hate for many decades. The transphobia metastasized and consumed the festival. The festival's organizers have no one to blame for that but themselves."

Lane added, "MichFest alienated queer women and artists and the rest of us by its unyielding devotion to a worldview motivated by exclusion and rejection. That is not the movement we are trying to build."

Transgender activist Autumn Sandeen offered, "Between the lines of the MichFest statement I hear festival director Lisa Vogel saying 'I'd rather fall on my sword than change the womyn-born-womyn intention.' And, if that intention doesn't change and evolve this year, what the festival and Ms. Vogel herself are going to be remembered for are their anti-trans sentiments. It strikes me as incredibly sad that Ms. Vogel and the rest of the MichFest organizers are apparently choosing anti-trans sentiments as their lasting legacy."

On the Facebook message that Vogel posted, there were mostly comments in support of Michfest and Vogel. Statements such as "My heart is so sad to hear this," and "I am so incredibly thankful for all of the womyn I've met through the years," being common sentiments.

See Vogel's full message here: www.facebook.com/michfest/posts/10153186431364831 .

See the NCLR and Task Force story here: www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/NCLR-and-Task-Force-remove-names-from-Michfest-petition/51126.html .


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Emma Gonzalez part of June 15 march 2018-07-14 - Emma Gonzalez and other students from Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, are scheduled to take part in St. Sabina Church's annual ...


Gay News

'Queer the Pier' to take guests on aural journey 2018-06-16 - Kristen Kaza is a queer event producer extraordinaire, whose "party-with a purpose" productions have been part of the city's entertainment landscape since 2012. ...


Gay News

Black Lesbian exhibit opens with filmmaker Welbon 2018-06-15 - 10F0LD Productions and curator Kru is now presenting the Black Lesbian Archives Exhibit, with an opening June 14 at Affinity Community Services in ...


Gay News

Dyke March back, focuses on pro-Palestinian agenda 2018-06-15 - Last year's Chicago Dyke March and Rally was marred by an incident between three Jewish women carrying a rainbow flag featuring the Jewish ...


Gay News

Dual Spirit Style helps all people find their menswear look 2018-06-14 - Tanisha Hawkins has always taken her image—and her clothes—seriously. "I'm really passionate about being able to express your gender. If you see ...


Gay News

Trigger warning, mental health, suicide prevention and survivor guilt 2018-06-13 - Trigger warning: mental health. Simply put, suicide can kiss my ASS. If you're a fellow family/friend survivor, I'm sending you tons of ...


Gay News

Artemisia's Fall Festival in Sept.-Oct. 2018-06-12 - Artemisia launches its 2018-19 theater season with six all-new feminist plays featured in Fall Festival 2018, which will take place Sept. 24-26 and ...


Gay News

Sean Wiggins concerts June 15-17 2018-06-12 - Lesbian musician Sean Wiggins will be performing throughout the Midwest in mid-June. On Friday, June 15, in Sheridan Plaza in Whiting, Indiana, she ...


Gay News

Washington Heights artist on her work, studio, future event 2018-06-12 - Washington Heights resident Hana L. Anderson ( who was born and raised in the Chicago neighborhood of Hyde Park ) has always considered ...


Gay News

Back Lot Bash, fifteen years and still going strong 2018-06-12 - Despite having full-time jobs, the dynamic duo of Amie Klujian and Christina Wiesmore-Roberts have put on the famed lesbian-focused yet all-inclusive Back Lot ...


 



Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.