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2007 Organizational Update [Apr. 16th, 2007|05:57 pm]
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The year 2006 was momentous for the struggle to have transwomen welcomed on the Land at Michigan Womyn's Music Festival. Papers were burned, old policies were finally interred, and one courageous transwoman openly took steps onto the land with her head held high. She was supported on one side by a representative of Camp Trans, the organization that's spent over a decade working to get transwomen included in this feminist haven, and on the other side by a representative of Yellow Armbands, the grassroots organization that focuses on working for change from the inside out. A proud woman, a tireless advocate, and a person willing to sacrifice her vacation to make a difference; together they have turned over a new leaf in the histories of MichFest and Camp Trans alike, and this coming year will stand as testament to this new direction.

Camp Trans 2007 will be important for us as an organization, although perhaps not in the way one would originally think. The best way we can support our allies in the Yellow Armbands at this time is to do away with our "On Land Organizer" position, if only for a year, so that the Yellow Armband organization has an opportunity to prove itself a separate entity from the events and the workshops that Camp Trans will be focusing on in this transitional year. We'll still be walking the line, and we'll offer our support to the Yellow Armbands in whatever way is mutually beneficial, but we shall leave the Yellow Armbands to be the sole promoters of trans inclusion within the festival. This is in part due to a desire to see the Yellow Armbands continue to blossom into a proud and independent organization internal to MichFest, and in part because Camp Trans has some house cleaning to do, particularly concerning the way we've structured our organization in the past.

To put it bluntly, CT has not elected its organizational body for the past two years, and perhaps not legitimately for longer than that. It's easy to throw together an online poll or a list-serve email and then mark the trickled responses that make their way back through the wilds of the internet as a form of legitimacy, but this fails to account for the diversity of experiences which make Camp Trans the amazing space that it is. Not everyone has access to the internet, not everyone has the social capital to know how to find these online elections, and as a result our elections must happen on the ground in the future. Camp Trans 2007 will include a series of workshops in which we will account for the major organizer positions within the Camp and then hold elections for those positions before camp ends. This will allow all attendees of CT to know who is in charge in the upcoming year, and should prevent recurrences of situations like two years ago, where our organization was thrown into turmoil when key organizers dropped out without warning.

We know we've faced allegations of a lack of transparency as of late, and we want you all to know this is not because we've forgotten about you, nor is it because we're trying to keep secrets from any of you. We've been planning on how to make a Camp Trans that will be a self-perpetuating, open entity, and in that hunt for future transparency we've been hushed by our fears that speaking of it too soon would jinx our plans. There have been, and will always be, people who profit from the slightest miss-statement from the mouths of CT organizers. In trying to minimize those missteps we've appeared to make no steps at all… which is a shame, really, since we're happy to inform you that we've been working, dialoguing and planning to make camp a new and better place for us all.

Jack Radish & Lina Corvus

[User Picture]From: mswhamula
2007-04-17 02:31 pm (UTC)


Thanks! I wasn't aware that organizers were ever elected at all, by any means, which is something I've long been uncomfortable with.
[User Picture]From: fireworkboy
2007-04-17 03:04 pm (UTC)


[User Picture]From: mswhamula
2007-04-17 03:13 pm (UTC)


Of COURSE you can!!!! LOL!
[User Picture]From: jlina
2007-04-17 04:29 pm (UTC)


Yeah! I mean, I assume they were, because people yelled at us a lot when we weren't elected and tried lecturing us on how "things were supposed to be" but I don't have any real evidence of that in the past. I have a theory that involves's former relationship with CT and the love of a good poll over there, but it's one of the side effects of being part of an organization that doesn't take the best care of our history.

Anyway, I really hope you'll be there and be a part of the discussion on how to structure these elections on the land this year. The discussion is going to be even more important than the election itself, because it's easy to be like "there should be elections!" but it's a lot more difficult to figure out the best way to structure them.
[User Picture]From: hardrockgrrl
2007-06-02 05:09 pm (UTC)


Um, hi, I guess I am "people". CT's process for electing organizers in the past was certainly not perfect, but at least there was an attempt to be democratic and inclusive, as opposed to your current strategy of self-appointment. Perhaps that was necessary this year, and I'm glad to see you moving toward open elections on the land, which I agree is the best solution.
[User Picture]From: jlina
2007-06-02 06:26 pm (UTC)


As it stands, we haven't been turning people away who have volunteered and we've been actively solicit people to get done everything we've wanted to get done. The option you are disparaging the current committee for not embracing, online elections, would result in a situation where people would have to lose. I mean, nothing is more demoralizing than an election in which the majority (if not all) of the candidates are running unopposed, which to the best of my knowledge is the only way to have a process be both democratic and inclusive.

I realize that the process is not perfect, and that's why we have plans to bring this up on the land, but I don't think intentions change outcomes. Intending to be democratic doesn't mean a process that is not equally available to all parties becomes democratic.