?

Log in

No account? Create an account
rebeccasf [userpic]
OUT!wear Pridewear Selling Anti-Trans Woman T-shirts!
by rebeccasf (rebeccasf)
at July 12th, 2011 (09:45 pm)
Location: facebook

This afternoon I came across a company selling WBW t-shirts. Their home page states the following.

OUT!wear™ is quality custom Pridewear and Accessories "WORN WITH PRIDE" to promote visibility, unity and self esteem amongst Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans-gendered persons.To promote a positive image within our community, whether bold or discreet.

The womyn-born-womyn policy of the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival is rooted squarely in prejudice and has aided the marginalization of trans women for 36 years. The selling of WBW items is clearly anti-trans woman and goes against everything in the companies own statement above. If you don't know what the WBW policy is, please read my (very) brief herstory of the exclusion of trans womyn from womyn only spaces below.

It's astonishing that an LGBt company would actually attempt to profit off the marginalization of trans women. I had made a few posts on their facebook page along with at least a dozen others, asking them to stop selling these items. I also sent an email to the addresses on their contact page with no response. A little while ago they deleted all wall posts and comments from their fb page they deemed negative while leaving many comments in support of the WBW policy at MichFest. They then banned everyone who posted comments asking them to stop selling the t-shirts from posting again. The deleting of the comments was especially sad because there was some really good dialog going on between a few of us and some of the supporters of the wbw policy. I feel like a good opportunity for discussion has just been completely nuked and will never appear again.

As a community, I'm looking for some ideas on how to respond. So far, there has been only silence and censorship from OUT!Wear. I think a good first start is to repost this on your own blog and ask your friends and all trans allies to do the same. I've reposted this already to the blogs below. I was thinking of trying to get a google bomb together to label them anti-trans. Also, they seem to be a large supplier of shirts and other items to PFLAG. If PFLAG truly supports the T, they should cease all business with them until they stop selling WBW gear. At the very least, OUT!Wear should remove any reference to trans people from their website since (at this point) it appears to be an absolute lie!

Let me know what you think!

Love and respect,
Bex Cat-herder


UPDATE 7/13/2011: Please see response from PFLAG below!
UPDATE 7/13/2011: OUT!Wear has removed all WBW clothing!

UPDATE 7/14/2011:
Maria of OUT!wear has issued a personal apology to the lgbt community, pulled all WBW merchandise and given refunds to all who placed orders!


x-posted to camptrans,mtf,trans_feminism,transfeminism





A (very) brief history of the exclusion of trans women from women only spaces.

The history of the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival's womyn-born-womyn policy is based on the notion that trans womyn are really men. It relies entirely on biological determinism, something feminists have been fighting against since there was feminists. It also completely ignores the life experiences of trans womyn and their chosen identities.

The implementation of the wbw policy in 1979, was a time when radfem lesbian separatists were carving out space for themselves and completely throwing off all reliance on men, financially, emotionally and politically. In the fervor, lesbians also began excluding trans women from their spaces claiming they were men infiltrating the burgeoning lesbian movement as a patriarchal attempt to disrupt. It's a beautiful history marred by this legacy.

The first well documented case of trans exclusion came in 1973 at the first West Coast Lesbian Conference held in southern California. One of the co-organizers, a trans woman named Beth Elliot, was at onetime the vice-president of the San Francisco chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis and also a folk singer. She was scheduled to perform on the first night of the conference, and as she was getting ready to take the stage, several women began shouting, "There's a man on stage!" Immediately a discussion ensued about Beth's legitimacy as a woman and her right to attend the conference she had helped organize. At one point, it was decided to put her presence to a vote. By one account, the vote was 75% in favor of Beth's attendance. However, the disruptors vowed to continue their activities if she stayed. Beth was so distraught by the often times bitter and cruel debate, that she left early the next morning.

In 1976, the struggling women only record label Olivia Records was threatened with a boycott if they didn't fire their chief sound engineer, Sandy Stone. By all accounts, Stone, a trans woman who had recorded with Jimi Hendrix, was generous with her talents teaching other women at the label the intricacies of sound recording. However, the threats from fellow radical lesbians became enough, that she left of her own accord in an effort to ensure the survival of the label.

In 1978, Mary Daly published "Gyn/Ecology" and a year later, her protégé, Janice Raymond, published "The Transsexual Empire: the making of the she-male." Both books promote the notion that trans women are men and accuse them of colonizing women's space. Raymond’s book was particularly caustic towards trans women. In it, she writes, "All transsexuals rape women's bodies by reducing the real female form to an artifact, appropriating this body for themselves .... Transsexuals merely cut off the most obvious means of invading women, so that they seem non-invasive." She also referred to trans women as "male-to-constructed-females" while largely ignoring and dismissing trans men.

In 1991, the National Lesbian Conference in Atlanta passed a resolution declaring the conference only open to "genetic women" and explicitly excluding "non-genetic women". Using the term "non-genetic" to refer to trans women is particularly de-humanizing as all humans are genetic. It is akin to calling them "it" or "things".

Just weeks after the conference, the Michigan Womyns Music Festival ejected Nancy Jean Burkholder, a self identified post-op transsexual. After receiving much criticism, the festival sent out a press release. In part it said, "In the simplest of terms, the Michigan Festival is and always has been an event for womyn, and this continues to be defined as womyn born womyn." It continued, "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." It's obvious from this wording that the organizers of the Michigan Womyns Music Festival do not respect the identities of trans women and are using an essentialist and non-feminist argument for excluding trans women. I'm also fairly certain that Nancy Burkholder would not refer to the way she was treated as respectful!

While the language of trans women exclusion has changed over the years, the prejudice and animus remain. It's time to put the term "womyn-born-womyn" in the history books and to give trans womyn the same dignity and consideration that is given to non-trans womyn by respecting their identities and not policing their bodies. Trans women are women, and like all women, they may have several other identities too (lesbian, trans, Christian, Asian, etc.). I'm asking OUT!wear to live up to the statement on its home page to "promote visibility, unity and self esteem amongst Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Trans-gendered persons" and to fully respect trans women. Please ask them to stop selling WBW schwag!

Comments

Posted by: Ryn (ryntha_doghare)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 06:16 am (UTC)

Gah, this is a nightmare. But I can't think of any other way to stop them selling it if they're just going to delete all negativity off their page.

Thank you for the brief history, though. I didn't know much about what's been going on with that sort of thing, so I definitely feel a lot more educated now. (Though why is humanity full of sucky people?)

Posted by: rebeccasf (rebeccasf)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 06:44 am (UTC)

The key is to post this everywhere they can't delete it. They don't have control over individuals fb pages or blogs. And once stuck in the bowels of the google cache, they will never be able to escape it!

Posted by: tinyrevolution (tinyrevolution)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 07:34 pm (UTC)

Posted by: rebeccasf (rebeccasf)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 07:37 pm (UTC)

Posted by: TamerTerra (tamerterra)
Posted at: July 14th, 2011 10:17 am (UTC)

Posted by: pauraque (pauraque)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 06:24 am (UTC)
tng engage

Good lord.

I sent them an email explaining why this is not an appropriate t-shirt slogan for a GLBT shop, though I doubt they'll respond.

Posted by: rebeccasf (rebeccasf)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 06:46 am (UTC)

Cool, thanks. I sent them an email 8 hours ago and no response.

Posted by: Jasmine (darkangeljas)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 06:33 am (UTC)

Can I link this post to a few communities on Reddit? Specifically r/lgbt and r/transgender?

Thanks!

Posted by: rebeccasf (rebeccasf)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 06:34 am (UTC)

Yes, please! That would be great!

Posted by: Jasmine (darkangeljas)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 06:39 am (UTC)

Posted by: whisperkit (whisperkit)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 06:39 am (UTC)
Angry Rabbit

Well, they can go fuck themselves.

Posted by: www.charliefordjr.com (charlie_ihsan)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 09:34 am (UTC)

I tweeted to them

"Out!Wear sells anti- #trans and @PFLAG gear http://t.co/H9j1pk5 #PFLAG support anti- #transgender companies? @transadvocate @TransEquality" and they replied with

"@charliefordjr looking into this and NO! @PFLAG would never support anti-trans companies. Thx for forwarding!"

Click on my original tweet to retweet it if you're a twit ;), but they did say they were looking into it. If more people say something then it's possible they act a little faster.

Posted by: rebeccasf (rebeccasf)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 02:57 pm (UTC)

Very cool! Yes, please re-tweet this everybody!

Posted by: www.charliefordjr.com (charlie_ihsan)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 11:15 pm (UTC)

Posted by: cittenscollar (cittenscollar)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 11:39 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Kathy (kathygnome)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 12:52 pm (UTC)

PFLAG can be reached by email at info@pflag.org. I"m sure they don't want to be associated with this.

Posted by: rebeccasf (rebeccasf)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 03:04 pm (UTC)

So, apparently the woman who owns the company is a longtime festie named Maria! I sent an email to sales@outwear.com yesterday afternoon. Still no response. I suspect that the "Trans-gendered" she refers to is only for those butches who went astray and took T and that she cares a fuck about trans women (or "men" as she probably likes to refer to them!). Sometimes I seriously couldn't give a fuck about the "GLB(t) community"! Off with thier heads!

Posted by: meegosh (meegosh)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 06:04 pm (UTC)

Or she used the word to make herself look good rather than thinking of the implicates? Cos I ain't no more a woman than a trans woman is a man and think this is disgusting.

Posted by: www.charliefordjr.com (charlie_ihsan)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 11:17 pm (UTC)

Posted by: kittenmommy (kittenmommy)
Posted at: July 14th, 2011 01:29 am (UTC)

Posted by: nico (chthonictonic)
Posted at: July 14th, 2011 02:43 am (UTC)

Posted by: www.charliefordjr.com (charlie_ihsan)
Posted at: July 14th, 2011 04:18 am (UTC)

Posted by: nico (chthonictonic)
Posted at: July 14th, 2011 05:59 am (UTC)

Posted by: cittenscollar (cittenscollar)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 06:50 pm (UTC)

This is awful. Please keep us updated :(

Posted by: Dysperdis (dysperdis)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 07:11 pm (UTC)

Anyone like petitions? 'Cuz personally, I'm a fan:

http://www.change.org/petitions/outwear-pridewear-stop-selling-anti-trans-shirts-and-apparel

I hope you don't mind, but I linked to this post in the petition-- you offer a really clear rundown on the issue.

I've also retweeted, shared this on FB, etc. If we take as many directions of attack as possible, they'll be hard pressed to block or ignore 'em all.

Posted by: rebeccasf (rebeccasf)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 07:38 pm (UTC)

Very cool! Thanks so much for sharing. I'll also sign the petition, of course.

Posted by: cai1987 (cai1987)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 09:56 pm (UTC)

It's linked on the petition but not here:
http://blog.pflag.org/2011/07/statement-on-outwear-pflag-national-and.html

PFLAG clearly doesn't want to be affiliated with this.

Posted by: cai1987 (cai1987)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 10:14 pm (UTC)

I'd also like to note that OUT!Wear claims a portion of the proceeds from their PFLAG merchandise go to PFLAG (see http://www.outwear.com/PFLAG.php) while that announcement says that PFLAG didn't even realize that site was using their logo. That indicates to me that OUT!Wear may not have been completely honest about the "charitable donations" statement.

Posted by: rebeccasf (rebeccasf)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 10:24 pm (UTC)

Posted by: cai1987 (cai1987)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 10:31 pm (UTC)

Posted by: rebeccasf (rebeccasf)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 10:09 pm (UTC)

PFLAG responded to the controversy with a post on the OUT!Wear facebook reviews page.

http://www.facebook.com/pridewear?sk=reviews

PFLAG National first heard about Out!Wear late last night via our devoted members and followers on Twitter. Out!Wear is not a PFLAG National supplier and we were unaware that the company was offering merchandise with our outdated logo and out-of-date tagline on it. PFLAG National is absolutely trans inclusive. All of our policy statements and materials reflect this inclusiveness and, in fact, PFLAG National was the first of the national LGBT organizations to commit to an inclusive-only legislative policy.

PFLAG National has contacted the owners of Out!Wear and demanded that they immediately stop making and carrying merchandise with the PFLAG National logo on it, and remove all references to PFLAG from the Out!Wear website. If this request is not met quickly and completely, legal action will ensue. As always, we will take strong steps to ensure that PFLAG National continues its mission of support, education and advocacy for all LGBT people and their parents, families, friends and allies.

We thank those members and supporters who quickly brought this situation to our attention – it is this passion that is at the heart of every PFLAG members’ work.

Posted by: rebeccasf (rebeccasf)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 10:10 pm (UTC)

Also here!
http://www.facebook.com/PFLAG

Posted by: cai1987 (cai1987)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 10:37 pm (UTC)

Where did you see that it was down?

Posted by: rebeccasf (rebeccasf)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 11:06 pm (UTC)

They just removed the links to the WBW merch from the site. The stuff is still available from a direct link!

Posted by: cai1987 (cai1987)
Posted at: July 13th, 2011 11:08 pm (UTC)

Posted by: cai1987 (cai1987)
Posted at: July 14th, 2011 12:22 am (UTC)

Posted by: Dapper Dan (masscooper)
Posted at: July 14th, 2011 02:54 am (UTC)

Posted by: cai1987 (cai1987)
Posted at: July 14th, 2011 04:11 am (UTC)

Posted by: Sophie (soph)
Posted at: July 14th, 2011 06:56 am (UTC)

Posted by: kittenmommy (kittenmommy)
Posted at: July 14th, 2011 01:27 am (UTC)


trans womyn are really men

NO.

I wonder what they'd do if a trans man wanted to attend their little shindig. Would he be allowed in because "he's really a woman!" (ugh!) or would he be excluded because he's a man? I have a feeling that their reaction would be edifying.

Also, "womyn" makes my eye twitch.

Posted by: www.charliefordjr.com (charlie_ihsan)
Posted at: July 14th, 2011 01:50 am (UTC)

If you search about the wbw and michfest history, yes, trans men are (at least have been) allowed because they were socialized as women.

Posted by: kittenmommy (kittenmommy)
Posted at: July 14th, 2011 01:53 am (UTC)

Posted by: Dapper Dan (masscooper)
Posted at: July 14th, 2011 02:55 am (UTC)

Posted by: kittenmommy (kittenmommy)
Posted at: July 14th, 2011 03:03 am (UTC)

Posted by: Sophie (soph)
Posted at: July 14th, 2011 06:58 am (UTC)

Posted by: Dysperdis (dysperdis)
Posted at: July 14th, 2011 03:38 am (UTC)

The direct link no longer seems to be working, and a search of their site for for "WBW" is coming up blank. Still no word from the company as far as I've seen...

Posted by: ellyrouge (ellyrouge)
Posted at: July 14th, 2011 01:13 pm (UTC)

There is now a response from Outwear: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.125209017544179.22445.109213055810442&comments=1#!/notes/outwear-pridewear-accessories/an-open-letter-to-the-lgbt-community-and-its-allies-re-the-wbw-product-line/171857096212704

(Too bad, though, I'm sure those shirts would have greatly enhanced my passing in lesbian circles /o\ )

Posted by: cai1987 (cai1987)
Posted at: July 14th, 2011 11:23 pm (UTC)

LOL! Best response ever!

48 Read Comments