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Years of words from MichFest’s Lisa Vogel

Commentary: Trans Progressive


There’s been many words spoken by Lisa Vogel, the founder and 39-year key organizer of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival about the festival’s women-born-women (WBW) policy. This year, she’s referring to the policy as an intention, but six of one, half-a-dozen of the other – she’s referred to the intention as policy in the past.

Members of the trans community have, for over 20 of those years, been arguing against the WBW policy.

In 1991, the policy resulted in Nancy Burkholder being denied entry into the festival. “It’s unfortunate that our choice to offer the Michigan Festival as an event for womyn-born-womyn is being construed by some as a position on the merits of people making individual choices on how to live,” co-wrote Vogel in a letter printed in the publication GCN. “When it was clear this summer there was a known transsexual man attending the event, the festival security staff dealt with it as respectfully as possible.”

Vogel had no distress in identifying a trans woman as a man. Her propensity for referring to trans women as men goes at least as far back as 1977 when she signed onto a letter to Olivia Records demanding they fire Sandy Stone, a transsexual woman. “We are writing concerning your decision to employ Sandy Stone as your recording engineer and sound technician,” a June 1977 copy of that letter that published in Sister stated. “We feel that it was and is irresponsible of you to have presented this person as a woman to the women’s community when in fact he is a post-operative transsexual.”

“Some of us have already [worked with Sandy Stone] without the knowledge that this person was not a woman,” the letter Vogel signed added.

By August 1999, the policy was somewhat relaxed. The festival organizers stated “We do not and will not question any individual’s gender,” but were then aghast that six members of the Transexual Menace/Camp Trans bought tickets and attended the event. “As commonality organizers, we operate from a position of trust, expecting that people will try to do the right thing, rather than policing people to catch them doing the wrong thing,” said Vogel in an Aug. 28, 1999 media release. “We do not and will not question any individual’s gender. We hoped that the Transsexual Menace organizers would honor that trust and respect the intention of this event.”

“We are aware that some individuals associated with Camp Trans have not respected the Land as womyn’s space,” the press release went on to say. “We know that many of you [festival attendees] are angry about this, and have questions about whether this is a change of festival policy. There is no change in festival policy, politics or intention regarding womyn’s space. We too are angry that this has been disrespected, and we are dealing with it now the best we can. We want you to know that we always have been and always will be committed to the festival as womyn’s space.”

Self-segregation is what Vogel elegantly stated she wanted in August 2006. In a media release, Vogel quoted what she wrote in a letter to a trans woman named Lorraine who attended the festival. “I would love for you and the other organizers of Camp Trans to find the place in your hearts and politics to support and honor space for womyn who have had the experience of being born and living their life as womyn. I ask that you respect that womon born womon is a valid and honorable gender identity.”

This year, Vogel stated trans womyn are women, but then appropriated the term “gender identity” from the trans movement to differentiate trans women from the WBW welcome at MichFest. In an Aug. 1 Facebook statement, Vogel first stated as a bullet point that “We believe that transgender womyn are womyn,” but in the very next bullet point pivoted to female in stating “We believe that females experience a unique, historical and debilitating oppression as a class under patriarchy.”

Which brings us back to 1977 and 1991. Joanna Russ once wrote a feminist science fiction novel entitled The Female Man; Lisa Vogel’s fiction no doubt would be called The Male Womon. She won’t actually say trans women are males, but it’s clear that’s what she believes.

Vogel’s bigotry these days is couched in flowery words, but everyone knows actions speak louder than words.

Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=50494

Posted by on Aug 14, 2014. Filed under Bottom Highlights, Trans Progressive. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

17 Comments for “Years of words from MichFest’s Lisa Vogel”

  1. It’s really simple….you are not wanted there. Why you insist on trying to force yourself on women who don’t want you there is a puzzle. If you do force your way in, it won’t change anything. It won’t make you “more of a woman,” or even a woman at all. It will just make you an unwelcome pest.

    • Waaaahhhh!! Someone sound like a crybaby cuz the world is recognizing what a bunch of sad, out-of-date losers you are.

      WHY do we want in, when we aren’t welcome? Why did people of color want to use the “whites only” restrooms, when they weren’t welcome?

      Because keeping us out is wrong. And everyone seems to get that except for you 60’s rejects.

      • Sorry sir, but I am not a member of that group. I simply recognize that you don’t belong there. Comparing MWMF to a “whites only” bathroom is totally bogus. It is NOT remotely a public accommodation. It is a private event, and as such, they get to set the rules. By your screwed up logic, I would be out of line if I refused to let you come in and use my bathroom. No, keeping you out is not wrong. Trying to force your way in, well that is.

        Your behavior justifies the policies of MWMF. In short, you are acting like a bunch of men who think they are entitled to do whatever they wish.

        • According to an internal organization called “Trans Women Belong Here”, trans women belong there.

          Color me skeptical that a “private event” would license with public office so it can sell tickets to (do business with) the public.

      • Anything you say Brenda.


  2. Sandeen and their kind will never get it, they are not female. They haven’t lived the experience, and like the men from which they came they want to force themselves upon womyn, invade their spaces even to the point of claiming they are lesbians. Now isn’t that a joke if there ever was one.

    In case you didn’t get the memo Autumn, MWMF is a PRIVATE EVENT HELD ON PRIVATE PROPERTY. The holders of the event get to CHOOSE WHO ATTENDS AND WHO DOES NOT. You are not female so BUTT OUT, for that matter 90% have dicks and that is the last thing a bunch of lesbians want to see is your male organ.

    Maybe some of my Christian Fundamentalist friends should invade one of your trans only events, maybe they can help you to see the light of the lord.


    • Alas, you hit the nail on the head. One of the funniest parts of all this is, now that MWMF has basically said that they don’t “question anyone’s gender” the extremists are now complaining that they are not accepted as “female.” Perhaps some of them should look between their own legs. That bit of tissue hanging there is called a penis, and females don’t have penises. Seriously, delusional is the only word for such….

    • “Sandeen and their kind will never get it, they are not female.”

      Except YOU’RE the ones who don’t get it. Trans women are female. It’s supported by the AMA and the APA. It’s supported by legal documentation. The idea that transgenderism is a “myth” is over. It’s recognized by medicine and science.

      And YET, some sad sacks STILL don’t seem to get it. Some STILL want to cling desperately to their delusion that trans women are men who want to “invade feminism from the inside in order to destroy it”.

      The real world refers to those kind of people as “crazy”.

      • Uh, take a look between Sandeen’s legs. You see that thing hanging there. It is a penis. That makes one male. End of story. What about you? Do you have a penis? If so, you are a male. Again, end of story.

        As to the stuff about invading feminism? That’s pretty much the truth. No, crazy is saying females have penises.

      • Oh Please show us your vagina then, I doubt you are sitting on one.
        I doubt you know what it is like to have a man inside of you, to be as close to a man as you possibly can. You haven’t the slightest idea what it is to be female, to create life, to have a baby growing inside of you.

        Look my clueless little friend the MWMF is a PRIVATE EVENT HELD ON PRIVATE PROPERTY. Penis Packing Pretend women have no business there.


      • Legal fictions are not reality. They are a fiction created with the stroke of a pen. Biological males are not women nor will they ever be, and a private event has the absolute right not to invite said males…

        It is no different than when I host pool parties at my residence…it is a penis-free zone. If the person has or ever had a penis, they do not enter the property. It really IS that simple.

        • Hmm… Your “private” event appears to be doing business with the public. I wonder how much it cost to license with the public office, how much it pays in taxes, and if there are greater than fifteen employees/contractors. Hmm…

          Last I checked, admissions tickets weren’t “invitations” — maybe there’s a reason the discriminatory intention is limited to an intention, hate to see a private event dealing with federal and state agencies about non-compliance issues 😉

    • Thinking that a public event which licenses with public office so it can sell admissions tickets to the public… is “PRIVATE”… priceless.

  3. Wow- you “womyn” are jerks. Glad I’m not a lesbian so I don’t have to date any of you.

    • You represent a number of the problems the real world has with Tee-Gees.

      First I am not a lesbian and I support anybody’s right, including yours to freely associate with whomever you wish. That would include you excluding anybody you want from your Tee-Gee events held on private property.

      Second you are under the impression any of the Womyn would want to date you, truth be told if you can’t leave your dick at the door they wouldn’t want you at their events let alone date you. They hate dicks permanently attached to their lovers, that is why they are called LESBIANS.

      Third and most important, you call them names because they exercise their right to free association talk about a chauvinist pig that is way misogynist of you to call them names for not wanting you in their events.

      My Post-Op friends look at you Tee-Gees and laugh, you act like a bunch of spoiled little boys. Why don’t you and your kind go and start your own music fest, or at the very least grow the fuck up.


    • I’m not a lesbian either. Personally, I have no desire to visit the MWMF. I realize it just galls you fellows that they don’t want you, but get over it.

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