Short History of trans-inclusion in women's/lesbian Music and Camp Trans


1973:  Beth Elliot was to perform at the West Coast Lesbian Conference but members of the San Francisco (S.F.) chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) identified her as the transwomen that attempted to join their chapter.  They then lead a group to push her off the stage.  This is not to say that Beth did not have her supporters.  In regards to the vote to deny Beth's membership in the S.F. DOB the editorial staff of the DOB newspaper Sisters walked out and offered this statement:  "We are disgusted that any lesbian has the audacity to judge the sexuality of another sister.  And so we resign."  In Los Angeles, Jeanne Cordova wrote an editorial in the Lesbian Tide about this.  She said, "Those who vote 'no' tonight vote with our oppressors, Those who vote 'yes' recognize that none of us is free unless all of us are free."

1976:  First Michigan Womyn's Music Festival

1977:  Olivia records hired Sandy Stone to help them record their performers.  Olivia Records was the only record company that would produce music with explicit lesbian/women-centered content, and such was struggling to break even financially.  Protestors forced Olivia Records to fire Sandy Stone when it became known that she was a transsexual.  The Olivia Collective was supportive, but in the end had to ask Sandy for her letter of resignation for fear of having Olivia Records shut down (it was the only women run record company at that time). 

1987:  Sandy Stone publishes The Empire Strikes Back: A Posttranssexual Manifesto and advocates for an authentic trans identity. 

I ask all of us to use the strength which brought us through the effort of restructuring identity, and which has also helped us to live in silence and denial, for a re-visioning of our lives.  I know you feel that most of the work is behind you and that the price of invisibility is not great.  But, although individual change is the foundation of all things, it is not the end of all things.  Perhaps it's time to begin laying the groundwork for the next transformation.

1991:  Nancy Burkholder comes out to others as trans within the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival.  Festival security questions her about this and escorts her out to the road in the middle of the night and has to find her way back to town.

1992:  A small group of women set up a table within the festival in order to educate other festivalgoers about this incident and to educate people on trans and gender issues. 

1993:  Nancy Burkholder returned with other transwomen with the plan on conducting workshops on the inclusion of transwomen.  She and the others were escorted out by festival security, but decided to still hold the workshops but do so in a clearing across from the festival.

1994:  Camp Trans begins.  (this was the last time anyone actively met to protest the festival's anti-transwoman policies. [except for a small demonstration in 1995] until 1999.)

1999:  Son of Camp Trans was initiated by Rikki Wilchins and the Transsexual Menance.  While this event brought the issue to people's attention once again the actions used was criticized by other transwomen.  

2003:  Camp Trans returns with new organizers and a desire to refocus back on the inclusion of ALL transwomen within the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival.