Michfest (1981)

“Eight thousand women descended upon the wooded expanse of Hesperia, Michigan for the 6th Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival (MWMF) on Auqust 13-16. Although the festival eschews “star” billings, the performers most familiar were Meg Christian, Alix Dobkin, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Terry Garthwaithe, and Alive! In all, 16 groups performed. Face the Music, who handled interpretation for the hearing-impaired, gave a graceful and sensitive performance that enhanced the
The festival, which has grown steadily in attendance since its inception in 1976, was characterized by a spirit of cooperation
and respect for the property and its temporary inhabitants. A great deal of credit is due the eighty or more organizers for their smooth coordination of an undertaking of this magnitude.
To the uninitiated MWMF spectator (which I was)…”

Author(s): nancy fithian
Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 11, No. 9 (October 1981), p. 15

Michfest (1981) (link)

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‘Michigan Moments’ – from Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival (2000)

“This year’s coverage is a collection of women from around the country describing the profound ways the festival impacts their lives. The women’s words show the truth in Audrey’s words, “Michigan is a dream reality. It’s ancient, futuristic, and present-tense real all at the same time. ‘Every woman should experience this!'”

Author(s): audrey wells, karla mantilla, jennie ruby, carol comerford, janel brooks, susan dunn, madeline davidson, jenn smith, sherri umanski, kelly, anonymous and laura butterbaugh
Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 30, No. 9 (october 2000), pp. 10-12

Festival, Michigan Moments (link)

Interview with Janice Raymond (1979)

INTRODUCTION: “I began my reading of The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male with a full deck of unexamined liberal assumptions: that the concept of a woman trapped in a man’s body was not absurd; that transsexualism was at least consistent with feminism if not essential to it; that alleviation of an individual’s pain took precedence over all else. Jan Raymond’s book prompted the questioning of all these assumptions and raised many fundamental points that I had not considered.”

Author(s): Susanna J. Sturgis and Jan Raymond
Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 9, No. 9 (october, 1979), pp. 14-15

Interview Jan Raymond (1979)  (Link)

‘Women in Prison Tell It Like It Is’ – from Off Our Backs, Women’s News Journal (2001)

“I am a woman. I am a battered woman. I am a battered woman incarcerated with a life sentence, no possibility of parole. In our society, being a battered woman is a life sentence anyway. I don’t see the point of underscoring it by the courts.
A battered woman is sometimes faced with the choice of kill or be killed.
If she gives up a life of physical, sexual, verbal and/or emotional abuse by her partner by killing him, she dooms herself to the same treatment by the “system.”
A battered woman is isolated from family and friends by her abuser; the system does the same thing. An abuser strips a woman of her identity and dignity; the system does the same thing…”
Author(s): Darcy K. War Bonnett, Deborah Bounds, Karen R. Paese and Shannon R. Houser

Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 31, No. 2, Our Sisters In Prison: What are they doing there? (February 2001), pp. 9-12

Women in Prison Tell it Like it is (Link)

(Photo taken at an exhibition: ‘Woman Behind Bars’)

‘Women and the Prison Industrial Complex’ – by Val Codd (2001)

“The U.S. war on drugs has become a war on women, specifically women of color. According to a Department of Justice Report, since federal drug laws ushered in mandatory sentencing in 1986, the incarceration rate for women has increased 400 percent, and the figure for black women is 800 percent. While the current rate of imprisonment for black women is more than eight times that for white women, the rate for Latina women is four times that for white women, according
to Amnesty International.”

Author(s): Val Codd

Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 31, No. 2, Our Sisters In Prison: What are they doing there? (February 2001), p. 8

Women & The Prison Industrial Complex (Link)

‘Trapped by Patriarchy: Women in Prison’ by Temima Fruchter (2001)

“Females are secondary.”
“This statement, made in 1998 by Andrew Winston, the chairman of the Virginia Board of Corrections, essentially sums up the position of women in the larger scheme of the U.S. prison hierarchy. Winston conceded that this is the unfortunate case in terms of the design of many American prisons and inmate services. Most of these services, he stated at the 1998 Friends of Incarcerated Women conference, are built to benefit males.
Because of this still-true case of nationwide neglect, such things as “male guards touching prisoners’ breasts and genitals during daily pat-downs and strip searches, watching women as they shower and dress and…selling women to male inmates for sex” were cited as being “common practice” by a 1999 Report by Amnesty International entitled Not Part of My Sentence: Violations of the Human Rights of Women in Custody.

Author(s): Temima Fruchter

Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 31, No. 2, Our Sisters In Prison: What are they doing there? (February 2001), p.1

Trapped by Patriarchy – Women in Prison (Link)

‘Man Bites Dog! How the Mainstream Media Obscure the Fact of Male Violence’ by Jennie Ruby

EXTRACT: “A dog bites a man? That is not news. Man bites dog? That is news. If a man beats his wife, it is not news, but if a woman beats a man, it’s news. Likewise, men rape about 500,000 women per year, some with foreign objects that cause severe damage to the woman’s vagina. That is not news. Clitoral mutilations occur perhaps every day. That is not news. One woman severs a man’s penis. That’s news.”

Author(s): Jennie Ruby

Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 30, No. 11 (December 2000), p. 12, 19

Man Bites Dog (Link)

MichFest Transgender Controversy…and Right-Wing Attacks: “Americans for Truth” claims MWMF endangers children – by Karla Mantilla and Lisa Vogel

“The Festival is womon-born-womon space. That means it is an event intended for womyn who were born and who have lived their entire life experience as female and who currently identify as a womon.
We ask the transsexual community to respect and support this intention…”

Author(s): Karla mantilla and Lisa Vogel

Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 30, No. 9 (October 2000), pp. 8-9

MichFest, Transgender Controversy & Right-Wing Attacks (Link)

Old Lesbians Celebrate: 1999 Keynote Speech by Shevy Healey

“This 1999 Old Lesbian Gathering is a very special Gathering. We have a double celebration, not only because we are here to celebrate ourselves as old lesbians, but to celebrate OLOC’s anniversary as well.
Ten years ago at almost this exact date and at this exact place, OLOC was born at the Second West Coast Celebration.
A large spontaneous group met to talk about “what next.” Many of us there realized that we wanted more than just
to meet every couple of years, fun as that was. We wanted to keep contact with each other, to talk about the personal and the political, to somehow evolve into a power to make old lesbians visible and vocal. It was as though a fever swept us: a meeting was set for two months later, a plea for start up money raised over $600, and the first meeting actually happened in San Diego in October, 1989. We salute and celebrate those first women organizers!”
Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 30, No. 6 (june 2000), pp. 11-14

Old Lesbians Celebrate (Conference) (Link)

The following is in remembrance of Shevy Healey, from the OLOC website http://www.oloc.org/projects/in_remembrance.php

Shevy Healey
December 2001

What Shevy has meant to us

Shevy Healey was born 29 January, 1922, in Russia and came to this country as a toddler around three years old with her mother and father. Very shortly after their arrival Shevy’s father passed away. She and her mother became a team of two. By the age of five Shevy was on street corners passing out flyers for the labor movement and social change. Shevy always told such wonderful stories about her childhood and growing up in the care of her mother.

I met Shevy in 1987 when plans were being made for the 1987 West Coast Celebration of old lesbians. At this time Shevy was a psychologist, with her practice in Santa Monica, California, and her home in Idlewood, California. We developed a lasting bond and remained in close touch until her death. Shevy was active and involved in many political and social issues most of the years prior to my meeting her. When we met, Shevy’s focus was on ageism, and subsequently she was the force that organized OLOC (Old Lesbians Organizing for Change). This became a reality in November of 1989.

Shevy was the program chair for the first OLOC Summer Gathering held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1996. This was a memorable event and very successful. She was the keynote speaker at the 1999 Summer Gathering in San Francisco. OLOC was a terrific gift to old lesbians from Shevy. This organization has been and is still a major support system for old lesbians. We are most grateful to Shevy for her vision and focus. Many articles have been and are being written by numerous organizations about Shevy and her contributions to our society. Shevy left many articles, published and non-published, for our edification and enjoyment.

My purpose here is to acknowledge Shevy’s gift to us as old lesbians, to respect and cherish her presence while we had her with us and to keep in place the wonderful memories she left us as well as improvements in our lives. For me and others who worked closely with her over the years, we are making every effort to keep her dream alive and survive our loss.

Shevy passed away on 8 December, 2001, in Mesa, Arizona, at a rehabilitation facility following a heart attack and a seizure. She is survived by her daughter, Donna, her grandson, Alexander of Massachusetts, and her life partner, Ruth Silver, of Apache Junction, Arizona. The celebration of life for Shevy was held on 27 January, 2002, in Zolo Hall at the park where she and Ruth lived since 1994. Friends and family came from many places to honor Shevy’s life.

by Vera Martin, 1923

‘Sadomasochism: It’s a Republican Thing’ – by Alix Dobkin

“During its heyday in the Lesbian community, sadomasochism reminded me of America’s redscare during the repressive 1950’s. Back then Republicans maintained control by intimidating the nation into silent compliance, much like sadomasochists, used sex and guilt to manipulate Lesbians thirty years later. In the 50’s opposing Democrats publicly supported anti-communism just as privately dissenting Lesbians felt compelled to pay public lip service to s/m in the 80’s and early 90’s. Substitute “vanilla,” “sex-police,” or my particular favorite, “sex-nazi” for “pinko” or “commie.”
This is how s/m got to be the exclusive Lesbian sex model for young or new dykes…”

Author(s): Alix Dobkin
Source: Off Our Backs, Vol. 30, No. 6 (June 2000), p. 16

Sadomasochism, It’s a Republican Thing (Link)