The One Where I Get Teary

This has taken me two months to publish. It has sat in my draft box for so long mainly because I thought I didn’t have the words to convey the depths of my gratitude, the highs of my joy and the source of my sorrow. And, to be honest, I didn’t think anyone would want to read it. But here it is. From the heart. Dedicated to those I shared the experience with, to those who never had the chance, to those who helped me get there (you know who you are), and to those who I know will rise again.

I have spoken before about how one of the hardest thing for me to deal with during my time with the torturer was my disconnection from women. Self-imposed exile as it was, it was a source of immense pain.

I truly love women.

I hadn’t really appreciated exactly how much. Or understood exactly how much we need each other, and that females are each other’s life-force.  Literally. This love is visceral, and inhabits me with deep and abiding passion. Some days, reading and hearing about women who are being exploited, oppressed, or otherwise hurt is overwhelming, and I need to take a break from the internet, switch off the television, and bury my head in a pillow. Some days, all I want to do is embrace every woman on this planet and clutch them to my breast, snarling at anyone who would dare harm us. I feel like I would die for women. And yes, I know how dramatic that sounds, but this is my truth.

Nothing is more nourishing to me than time spent in women-only space. The opportunities for that are rare and precious. The opportunities to gather publicly (as opposed to privately, in each other’s homes) shrink each year as men (and their supporters who would ignore female-set boundaries on the basis that they claim to “feel like a woman”) gain influence in the public sphere, and invade every last corner of our hard fought-for spaces. Even though every day, most of the world and half the sky moves aside to let them to the table, they want nothing less than our complete colonisation. Nothing less than to rob us of our words and thus our ability to describe our material reality as human beings born into the class “female” – our very real biology, and the uncontroversial evidence of the consequences of that. I know of no other group that seeks human rights while at the same time robbing others of their ability to describe their condition. None. When my daughter was born, I wept. Wept with joy that my body had given me a tiny human being with whom I will forever be connected with, and also pain at knowing some of the path that would be marked out for her in a world that revolves around men and their whims. Yes, I see you men. I have seen you for a very long time. From the fumbling in my knickers at four years old as I sat on my great-uncle’s knee, to the hands round my neck when I refused to call the torturer “she”. I spent a lifetime dodging, accommodating, excusing, and hiding from your violence. No more. I’m a straight up “NOT OVER MY DEAD BODY” refusnik to the cult of the dick.

So I went to Michfest.

And it was glorious.

And now I “get”, at a heart level, what Mary Daly was on about when she spoke about be-coming, and the exorcism and ecstasy of breaking through what she names as the “Male Maze”.
There are few words I can think of that capture what it was like to be swept up into female be-ing. To feel myself unfold and blossom. To Rise. And there are lots of achingly beautiful blogs out there that have captured the experience far better than I ever could…

It makes me heartsick to think of how for years this event, this gathering of female souls, this *intention* that this be a space where females find respite from the brutalities that hurt and diminish us from birth, where we find ourselves in each other, where we bond and nurture and grow our selves, where we spin and weave a new be-ing, where we are seen,  where little girls run free in the woods, where women are welcomed home, where radical self-acceptance is possible, where the sweat and toil of females who built a community from scratch each year for forty years will be no more. Lisa Vogel’s message to us was that we must go forward and create those spaces in our own back yards, that we are an unstoppable force of our own creation, and that we can rise again. And again.

So I have a message to all of you (be you men who colonise “woman”, or their many helpmates) who worked so hard to spread your lies and false songs of oppression against the Michigan Womyns Music Festival, who rejoiced at the sorrow of women who spent forty years of their life dedicated to creating a space each year for the sole purpose of uplifting females and opening doors into an understanding of exactly what we are and where we come from,  and who petitioned and lobbied and threatened and boycotted and hated and hated and hated…

                                                 You    have     not     won

We may temporarily no longer have a land to gather each year, to raise our girls and show them the joy of being female, to celebrate our elders, to love and nourish and tend to each and every one of us, to revel in our female diversity, but we have something a lot more dangerous. A collective memory. And a love that never dies – for each other, for our shared intention.

We are the dandelion seeds in your manufactured lawn. We are the itch you just can’t ever quite reach. We are your worst nightmare. Because we know exactly what we are and where we come from.



A Further Letter to the Girlfriend

So how is it all working out for you? Been over a year now, eh? I notice that you have been getting into some pretty dark stuff. The fetish club? The one with the old men in rubber maid costumes? What a rollercoaster you must be on. It’s exiting being a “bad girl”, isn’t it? So much more exciting than your boring life before. The drudgery of rearing a young child on your own. Average and un-noticed. What a world of wonder you have entered. The delicious frisson of “If only they knew…”.Did you really think that a rainbow wig would disguise you? What did you think of your “girlfriend’s” choice of gear? (Pardon me, but it looked a whole lot more expensive than the stuff you had on, but I digress). Maybe it was exciting to walk around with him (sorry, “her”!) decked out in head to toe latex, complete with full head and face hood and huge inflated “boobs”. Just as well you were wearing your glasses – those rubber nipples could have had your eye out.
I don’t really know you, but it strikes me how you never showed any interest in BDSM, kink, “fem-dom” before your new “girlfriend entered your life. And I sincerely do worry about you. I have often considered contacting you directly rather than just penning these imaginary letters. I want to tell you to flee. To run for your life and never look back. To tell you that throwing yourself entirely into his world will drain you of self-worth and leave you smaller and even more vulnerable. That there is *no end* to his pit of porn-obsession, self-absorption and self-pity, and that there isn’t a compassionate bone in his body, no matter how many corsets or how much kinky gear he buys you, or nights out with him “en-femme” he pays for – try asking him for rent or money for food or even just to take you out to a cinema or do something “normal” with you and you will learn your worth to him.
I wonder if you know about the ad he has running looking for a “dominant lesbian who likes to humiliate Transsexuals” to join you and he to “teach you both about BDSM”? Hmmm, seems like you are not quite making the grade in the old fem-dom practices, sweetheart. Don’t take it personally, he used to ask me to get involved in that kind of stuff too. He told my naïve self that there are “dominant lesbians” just itching to join me and him to “teach” me how to dominate him. I told I knew plenty of lesbians, thanks very much , and they wouldn’t touch him with a barge pole. Besides, I wasn’t too keen on meeting someone to act as the third person in a scenario of his own porn-informed imaginings. Of course, this was presented to me as for *my* benefit…Oh how I laughed. After I stopped crying. I didn’t want to look at his collection of “hung angels” porn either.
Maybe you really have hankered after a “dominant lesbian” to teach you the fine art of “humiliating transsexuals”. Apologies if I have got this all wrong. But I can’t help noticing the same obsessions that gripped his imagination when he leeched off (pardon – “lived with”) me, this time being played out on you and I thought it worth noting.
Or maybe you don’t know about that ad? Or the other one where he doesn’t mention having a girlfriend. The one where he is looking for “a possible kidnap scenario” by two women? Where he offers to re-locate for the right woman, willing to turn him into a “living sex-doll”. No? Haven’t seen that one? How odd…
Perhaps it’s all very innocent. I’m sure he wouldn’t just be using you as an unwitting prop in his raging autogynephillia. Would he? No. He’s a “transsexual” with “gender dysphoria” and stuff. He did a questionnaire online – it must be true.
And now you are a lesbian. Just like that. And he (sorry, she!) is a “kinky trans lesbian”, just like “she” says in the numerous ads “she” has floating round on the internet. And we mustn’t evah evah kink-shame! Goodness me no! It says so on his favourite feminist Facebook page, Everyday Feminism, and they are the arbiters on everything. Cos you are a feminist too now, aren’t you? I see your name on the Facebook pages. Not the one’s I turn to mind you. Like he has told you, I know fuck all about feminism…. Aren’t you glad he introduced you to “proper” feminism? The feminism he knows so much more about than I do – according to him (sorry, her!). So don’t you listen to those evil TERFs with their “biology” and “patriarchy” and stuff. You listen to your girlfriend.
“She” is one of the “protected categories” enshrined in Equality Legislation and Hate Crime laws. Of course he isn’t just some creepy heterosexual man with a porn addiction! No sirree. Your girlfriend is the real deal. A woman, cruelly trapped inside a male body. Suffering untold agonies. Feeling all those womanly feelings and stuff since forever. Not the womanly feelings that are about housework or taking responsibility for stuff mind you – but womanly feelings all the same! The sexxaayy-lady-in-a-latex-face-mask-and-inflatable-boobs womanly feelings. The spit-on-me-and-call-me-slut womanly feelings. The pretend-you-are-nurse-and-tie-me-down-and-give-me-an-enema womanly feelings. The don’t-call-me-a-pervert-and-tell-me-I-can’t-come-in-your-changing-room-or-I-will-have-you-done-for-a-hate-crime-you-fucking-bitch womanly feelings.
So anyway, just checking in.

A moment of honesty from


Men who demand that women acknowledge their pathetic delusion that they are *actually* women aren’t just killing our souls as women with the misfortune to find ourselves lumbered with one of them. The whole movement is KILLING FEMINISM. The very route to our liberation from their domination. And the women who enable this …SHAME. ON. YOU.

A moment of honesty from

Some thoughts on MichFest

Yes. We see each other. And I too will be damned if I will acknowledge men as women.
And I too will be there in August, with a heart full of love for you, my sisters.


menruin (2)

Owing to the extreme generosity of a dear friend, my wife and I will be able to attend MichFest this year. My wife has attended before, but for me, it will be the first, and – as it turns out – last time to visit the land.

All I know about MichFest is what I’ve heard from others who’ve attended before. Most are rendered unable to articulate the experience adequately. “It’s just . . .” women often say. “It’s hard to describe . . . you have to be there.”

Because there are no words, there is no language, I suppose, for what it feels like as a female human being to exist for six days among other female human beings, to celebrate our existence, to talk to one another without protecting the delicate male ego, to exist outside of the male gaze, to walk in the dark without fear…

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