Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival comes to an end
With its womyn-born-womyn policy, Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival (MWMF) became a long-standing symbol of tensions between a faction of transwomen and a faction of radical feminists with differing views of whether trans women should be welcomed into “women-only” space. The festival was founded in 1976, and the trouble started in 1977, when some radical feminists began agitating against women’s music collective Olivia Records for employing Sandy Stone, an out transgender recording engineer. MWMF founder Lisa Vogel was a key critic of Stone at the time. In 1991, a trans woman was asked to leave the festival because she was not assigned female at birth. This led to over two decades of protest by trans women, an eventual apology by Vogel, and an escalating series of boycotts and actions against scheduled performers and sponsors. This year Vogel announced that the festival would end its run in August. A fictionalized version of the controversy is a subplot in Season 2 of Transparent.