About our “empowerment spaces.”
As a group of womyn and transfolk, we (the GenderJam: LaDIY and Trans Fest organizers) see a need in the Olympia community for “empowerment space” aka safe space to learn and teach, share our voices, and be empowered. At GenderJam: LaDIY and Trans Fest, we are trying to create such spaces by reserving them for those identity groups.
We believe that all people, including cisgendered* men (male-assigned and male-identified), are oppressed by the gender binary. We are in full solidarity with any and all efforts to fight ALL types of gender oppression.
However, at GenderJam: LaDIY and Trans Fest we are choosing, along with other anti-oppression tactics, to fight oppression by the creation of intentional space for the womyn, ladies, femayle bodied or identified people, and transfolk of ALL presentations, in our community.
This rare opportunity for ladies and transfolk to share with each other is not based in intentions of excluding the community at large from crucial struggles against oppression. The claiming of space is simply a valuable step within this struggle, not the end goal. We deeply respect and value the anti-oppression work done by cisgendered men both within this community and the rest of the world.
We ask that you respect GenderJam’s womyn and trans spaces and anti-oppression statement; if the program says a given event is for an identity group with which you do not identify, please be an ally and show your support by not coming. We will NOT be gender policing, so it is up to you to decide whether or not an event is for you.
The GenderJam: LaDIY and Trans Fest main space, the Procession Studio, will be reserved as space for womyn and transfolk of all identities during the workshop hours of November 20-22.
We openly invite people of all genders to come support the bad-ass musicians during the shows at the Procession Studio on November 20th (8 PM) and 21st (9 PM) and at Rainy Day Records on the 21st (1:30-4:30 PM), with the expectation that the behavioral rules in our anti-oppression statement will be respected. There will be a volunteer security team during the entire event, and if you act oppressively—regardless of your gender identity—we will unceremoniously kick your ass out.
Though GenderJam: LaDIY and Trans Fest is geared towards the ladies and transfolk in our community, we have been approached by some fantastic, radical cisgendered male allies about doing workshops specifically for cisgendered men and the broader community on issues of gender, patriarchy, masculinity and oppression. While this is not going to be officially part of GenderJam: LaDIY and Trans Fest (that is, we are not taking responsibility for organizing these events), we are donating GenderJam: LaDIY and Trans Fest space for those workshops and will be advertising them as a parallel event that we FULLY support! This space will be the Olympia library meeting room from 12-5 PM on Saturday November 21st (subject to change).
Here are ways that cisgendered men CAN be involved in GenderJam: LaDIY and Trans Fest:
– Come to the shows at the Procession Studio on Friday and Saturday nights, and the afternoon show at Rainy Day Records on Saturday (1:30-4:30 PM)
– Tell your friends about it
– Volunteer in a supportive capacity: we need help with childcare, food prep, transport of people and materials, and more. Ask us how you can help—we welcome you and appreciate your support!
– Donate your house for outta-towners to sleep
– Show your support for the womyn and transfolks you love with your absence. Respect our creation of “empowerment space”.
– Go to the workshops at the Olympia library
– Talk to your friends about patriarchy and gender oppression! Find ways to break it down! Organize your own event—if you think Olympia needs safe space for men to talk about masculinity, for example, claim it! We’re all just people, and if change is going to happen we gotta do it ourselves.
*Cisgendered: someone who is comfortable in the gender they were assigned at birth. “Cisgender” is used to contrast “transgender” on the gender spectrum.