But doesn’t the name “c.l.i.t.fest” exclude trans women?
Recently a group of trans women and allies made the suggestion that the name ‘clitfest’ excluded trans women. We want clitfest to be welcoming to as many people as possible, and the festival name has come up many times in discussion.
The trans women and transfeminine people on the organising crew have written this response in order to make our process and thoughts clear.
So, why clitfest? These are our main reasons:
Clitfest is an established event, already known in radical left feminist scenes
Clitfest is a feminist punk music festival that has been running all across the US since 2004. The goal of clitfest is to combat the latent inequalities in our scene(s), such as racism, transphobia, anti-semitism, homophobia, sexism, ableism and all other forms of oppression.
We want to carry on the tradition of these festivals. We could call it something else, but then it wouldn’t be a clitfest. We want to make a clitfest.
Trans women / transfeminine people are organising this festival
Trans women and transfeminine people make up a good chunk of the organising crew. We aren’t just here as a token – we are integral to organising this festival.
If the organising crew were mostly cisgender women, it would be understandable to treat the name “clitfest” as a giant red flag for body essentialism. This just isn’t the situation and we hope this will be clear once the programme is released.
We aren’t perfect and of course we’ll make mistakes – please just come and talk to us if you have issues with how we are organising!
Content over labels
This festival is the outcome of a huge number of discussions around marginalisation in the radical/political/queer scenes. Combatting transmisogyny was a large part of these discussions.
This is reflected in the focus on trans womens’ and transgender issues in the upcoming programme. We don’t just want a token discussion on ‘transgender issues’, and would not be interested in organising a festival where this was the case – we are trying to create a programme that is infused with trans womens’ experiences.
We are never going to find a label that includes everyone. We’ve all been to events where the ‘t’ in lgbtqi is an afterthought. What’s important to us is that the content of the festival defines it, not what acronym or label we decide to attach to it.
Clits are awesome! All junk is awesome! We want everyone to feel good about their bodies!
Naming the festival ‘clitfest’ is an act of collective reclamation. It is an act of rebellion against the misogynist norm. It is not a derogatory word to either cisgender or transgender women. Many trans women have clits, whether through surgery and/or through reclaiming their bodies for themselves.
A lot of women don’t feel comfortable uttering the word ‘vagina’, let alone talking about their clits. Women, both trans* and cis, feeling comfortable talking about their bodies is always going to be a positive thing. We want a society where women, can talk about their bodies, reclaim their bodies and celebrate their bodies. No matter what junk we have, how we experience our bodies or think about them or what words we use to describe our junk, people being allowed to think about their bodies in their own terms without pressure from a hierarchical stance on what is the best body or the best way to think of it is really important.
It would be a problem if the festival crew were policing clits on the door, or promoting clit-having-bodies as being superior to the rest. We have pretty much zero tolerance for body shaming of any kind. We want everyone to be mindful about how we talk about our own and each others bodies. This is something that we as trans women are really sensitive to, all having been on the receiving end of body essentialist feminism. We want to create a body positive and sex positive event where all bodies are respected and everyone can feel welcome.
Kiesia, Dee, Jess, and the rest of the clitfest organising crew