Big Tent Blues: what did I miss?

CH commented on my Big Tent Blues post yesterday that I hadn’t addressed the concerns of ageism, misogyny and lack of feminist principals raised by the folks who left to create Butch Nation.  As I’m reading through Sasha T. Goldberg’s posts (this and this), I see that concerns were raised and that Sasha and others didn’t feel they were adequately addressed.  That’s all I know about it.  I wasn’t in on the conversation, I don’t know what specifics they tried to discuss, so I can’t speak to those issues.  I do know that ageism has to be more than just disagreeing with someone who’s older than you and misogyny has to be more than being inclusive of people with a masculine centered identity.  That’s my line in the sand.

I’m inviting anyone who has information on what those issues were to educate me.   Without information, I’m not going to comment more on those issues.  Thank you.

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4 Responses to Big Tent Blues: what did I miss?

  1. Hi Kyle,

    Thank you posting the link to this on my blog. I appreciate your thoughts, your concerns, and your investment; incidentally, I am also one of the people who approved your workshop for BV before deciding to to end my 2+ years of investment.

    At any rate, I am not sure if you have had a chance to read the now-extensive dialogue and commentary on my posts, or the posts of Butch Nation, but I wanted to share here a reply that I gave to Lex, who also voiced some of your concerns.

    All best,
    Sasha.

    Dear Lex,

    Thank you for your thoughtful and important contribution to the conversation.

    I must say that I very much agree with what you’ve said about value. I do believe that any successful, cohesive movement ought to be value based–which is exactly why so many of us have left ButchVoices. Because our values do not align.

    For me, values mean both what we claim to value, and, just as importantly–what actions enact value, in the verb form. For me, and for so many others now speaking out, we are talking about values and words like respect, integrity, transparency, feminism, women, inclusiveness, history, and the wisdom and experience that comes with age–and the actions that enact these values.

    And when so many women report the same experience–the experience of not being listened to, not being heard, not feeling respected, not feeling included, and being downright dismissed (whether in the literal sense, or in the act of not receiving responses to our many concerns about feminism, ageism, misogyny, and transparency over many years)–the verb form of how and what we value is clearly missing.

    Because none of us at Butch Nation are new at organizing, we all know strife, and we all know struggle. Because all of us are women, and many of us Butch women, we all know strife, and we all know struggle. Because some of us are women of color, and because some of us are Jews, and because we have different levels of ability, and because we span fifty years between our youngest and our eldest, and because we have walked in this world fighting for justice–we ask that you (and others) trust us when we say: The divides are not merely superficial.

    We do not ask that you (or any in the community) divide support; we invite you to an important and long-overdue dialogue. We also believe in abundance, and that each of us are able to spend our time and energy in communities that feel like home–that echo our values–in word, and in deed.

    For what it’s worth, I, too, believe that we can do better, and tried to create that “better” for years within the framework of ButchVoices. For what it’s worth, I also hope the commitment is to the values that terms like Butch embody. And, for what it’s worth, because embody is a verb–we are building a nation.

    Thank you again for the care that is so present in your words–I hope to cross paths along the way.

    All my best to you,
    Sasha.

  2. Kyle says:

    Thank you, Sasha, for taking the time to leave this comment. I have also witnessed sexism and misogyny first hand, though as my partner Roxy will attest, I’m not always the most sensitive canary in the mine. My experience with witnessing what she went through at BV Portland and her stories about BV 2009, in addition to what I saw in Portland and with other transmasculine people I know led me to propose the Intentional Masculinity workshop. My hope is to get people thinking and examining their behavior, including being more conscious about sexism and misogyny. It’s a small step that I intend to follow with other steps. I don’t know that I’ll be any more successful that you’ve been, but I’ll give it a shot.

    Thank you for again for offering your first hand insights.

  3. LZ says:

    I appreciate you trying to stay abreast of current events within the queer community by writing about them here, but don’t you feel you’ve done this particular instance a bit of a disservice not only by not addressing the key concerns raised by the ex-BV members who now form Butch Nation, but by also not attempting to think through them and flesh them out here now in this follow-up? What you’ve done, instead, is just haphazardly glossed over them as if it’s not your problem or your work to engage those claims. And maybe, explicitly, it’s not your personal issue, but in blogging and taking public stances on potentially community-dividing issues like these (and I hope that’s not the end result, but it’s still a possibility), I think you owe your readership and the people enmeshed in this struggle a more thorough reading of the claims made by community leaders rather than a cop-out follow-up post like this.

    Thank you so much for your feedback. Will you please send me a link to your response, so that I can learn from something more well thought out? this won’t be the last time I talk about this issue. I suppose I could have held back, but here’s a sampling of what’s going on for me right now: I started a new job today, I’ll be interviewing people to facilitate LGBTQ youth groups until about 10 tonight, Wed/Thurs my wife will be out of town and I’ll be in charge of my kids and Thursday night I fly out to SFO for Butch Voices. It’s so easy to criticize and yell cop-out, perhaps you could write something to help me see what you believe I’ve overlooked? I’m not interested in divisions, much more interested in learning and similarities.

    thanks again for your feedback – K

  4. Roxy says:

    I think a big part of the current ugliness is that when people try to engage on either side, they get shot down. It doesn’t help to criticize people who are trying to discuss and learn, and calling a request for more a “cop-out” is not a way to encourage more light. Why not add something to the conversation rather than take down someone who, I can attest, is very open to listening to different sides of the issue? Although I disagree with Kyle on many points, we are having a rich, open discussion together about the issues. Never squander an opportunity to engage and educate with insults, it diminishes us all.

    I’d like to note that even when we disagree, we stay in the conversation until both of us are heard and are genuinely interested in hearing what the other has to say. I appreciate your willingness to do that with me – K

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