The Stonewall Reconciliation Project
Cultivating Healing Between Trans Feminist and Cis Feminist Communities
Curious about supporting or getting involved?
Why "The Stonewall Reconciliation Project"
Trans women, cisgender women & men, trans men, non-binary, lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, straight, asexual, We are all valid, we are all real, and we are all different. we cannot let those differences dehumanize us. Trans-ness does not undermine a man or woman's gender identity, nor does ethnicity, socio-economic status, cultural practices of gender, age, or ability. Nor does trans-ness undermine or erase cis women's identity. But the lack of relationship and understanding encourages prejudice. These differences do not have to be threats to one another, they can be resources offered to one another from compassion and in collaboration.
Lets talk about the elephant in the room. This project arose directly from the emotional, psychological and sometimes physical violence that is being waged in what some have called "The Gender Wars", what others have called "The TERF Wars" and what we are all loosing. For those just catching up, "TERF" stands for Trans Exclusive Radical Feminist. It has become a term with significant controversy surrounding it, which we will thoroughly discuss. This project is largely about how to rebuild an inclusive community, for trans and cis people, particularly through the lens of Feminism. But this conflict is not between Trans People and Cisgender People. It is between those who would advocate violence against one another, and those who are willing to listen, ask questions, and try to understand one another. Whether you are trans, non binary, cis gender, agender, intersex, straight, bisexual, asexual, or queer, if you have feelings and thoughts about gender, this project is for you.
While not condoning violence to any degree, we acknowledge that violence has been used historically, and legally, in the name of self defense when all else fails, Stonewall, was after all a riot. However this divide between cis and trans feminists is misconstruing that threat with catastrophic effect.
We refuse to give the Capitalist Patriarchy the satisfaction of watching us destroy one another. It is an insult to injury we will not allow.
The Stonewall Riot was a turning point. It was the moment the LGBT community came together and fought back. The queer community had been repeatedly harassed and attacked by the police. On June 27, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in New York City, police were about to raid the bar. People from the bar were being handcuffed and taken to jail under the premise of violating gender specific dress codes, homosexual solicitation, and alcohol related misdemeanors. The community had endured enough, and in this time they fought back. The resistance led to several days of rioting and protest which have gone down in queer history.
To this day we don't know who started the uprising. Much of what we do know is based on oral accounts of who was there. Was it Marsha P. Johnson, a black trans woman? Was it Stormé DeLarverie, a biracial butch lesbian? Sylvia Rivera? Miss Major Griffin-Gracy? None of the people who were there have ever claimed responsibility or discredited the others. Perhaps asking "Who Started It?" is the wrong question. They were all fighting together, a part of the same community, protecting one another, standing up for one another, against a force far more threatening than any of their individual differences. Their shared struggle didn't sacrifice any part of their identity, even if history didn't yet know how to honor all of them equally. We are in that same situation now. Will we honor our ancestors, learn from them, and choose to protect one another from a patriarchal society that benefits from our division?
We honor our ancestors by learning from them, and by continuing their work. They knew we are all in this together. They knew that our survival is linked to one another. It is a beautifully selfish act to extend compassion to another person. Yet, rather than building strong resilient communities of cis and trans feminists, both sides feel invalidated, threatened and erased by the other. Another ancestor, Audre Lorde, from whom this project draws a great deal of inspiration, offers these lessons. "The failure of [feminists] to recognize difference as a crucial strength is a failure to reach beyond the first patriarchal lesson. In our world, divide and conquer must become define and empower."
"The sharing of joy, whether physical, emotional, psychic, or intellectual, forms a bridge between the sharers which can be the basis for understanding much of what is not shared between them, and lessens the threat of their difference."
We invite you to join us in this project.
Queer Table Talks Podcast
As many of us have seen, these conversations do not go well online. Both women (of all kinds) and queers (of all kinds) know the crucial, life and death importance of community. Our network of relationships and community are our source of safety, yet in this conflict they have become rife with fear and distrust. After witnessing communities being torn apart, friends beginning to fear one another, and allies ostracized, Jackie, Nancy and I decided we would invite as many as would listen to have these conversations with us. We reached out to Isoke to join us, and knew we'd found our dream team.
We meet around a table, and discuss the Gordian Knot of trans identity, radical feminism, ethnic and cultural identity, history, oppression, privilege, intersectionality, power and trauma. We are trans, cis, and non-binary; we are intergenerational, multi-national, & represent socio-economic and ethnic diversity. Three of us are also currently all white passing, and work to be aware of that privilege and invisibility. We are certainly not representative of the entire trans, non-binary or cis communities, and we also don’t, attempt to showcase our perfect understanding of these issues. Quite the contrary, we are offering our imperfections and our vulnerable mistakes, to empower you to explore yours. Our conversations are likely to offend some of our listeners, and at times, one another. Crucial to this work is the care we give to our relationships with one another. The work we do is for our own education and growth, and the compassion we can offer one another. The process is more important than the perfect outcome.
The ideas presented on this podcast are not intended to be resolute conclusions, political canon, or psychological diagnosis. These statements will surely include both misogyny and transphobia, as well as other unconscious prejudices. We are likely to offend you, and even trigger you, and for that we respect your reactions and request your generous compassion. We sense that the harm done by being silent, and by not engaging and educating one another to our experiences, is even more dangerous.
Our intention is to be egalitarian, intersectional, inclusive, compassionate, open minded and trauma-informed. We are having these conversations to become more aware of and un-learn these prejudices. We are aware that we have impact, are dedicated to the ongoing process of being accountable. It is not possible to exist in this world without without impacting others, but we can do so with love and empathy, with strength and resilience. Please reach out to us, for we can learn from every perspective.
As an Oakland poster once inspired many to organize in the 1970’s “Those who do nothing, make no mistakes.”
This is how we build community.