I should preface by saying the CTN has repeatedly ignored my requests for comment. I received this through a local queer events email list.
As we reported two weeks ago, a local woman, Jessi Seams, alleges that Celebrate the Night, a lesbian variety show in honor of National Coming Out Day, discriminated against her by refusing to allow her to audition. Jessi, a transwoman, provided email from CTN claiming she was denied because she had been an escort, an allegation Jessi denies. CTN eventually acknowledged that they refused to allow Jessi to perform because a background search on the Internet found spaces where Jessi still identified herself as male. To date, CTN has not explained why they misled Jessi about the situation and continues to state they are transfriendly.
CTN's statement as per the Queer Events List:
We, CTN, would like to thank everyone involved in this public discussion, and those who contacted us directly, for sharing open dialogue &/or showing support.
CTN is growing and learning, and relies on the collaboration of volunteers and community. While we believe this situation could have been handled differently, we have taken all your feedback into consideration, and feel that CTN is going to be better and stronger as a result.
CTN has been growing each year, thanks to the dedication of our completely voluntary committee, staff and the community, which we hope to serve. Every year, we learn more, and moving forward, we intend to re-evaluate our policies for next year. We acknowledge and accept that we can not, and will not please everyone. We also, as always, encourage everyone to get involved, if not with CTN, then thru another organization that aspires to help our community. Sincerely, CTN
I'm going to be kind here b/c I do recognize that CTN is an amateur organization.
But this doesn't say anything, does it? It doesn't even use the words “discrimination” “transgender” or “inclusion,” much less “we made a mistake.” Cause clearly they don't think they have and they have no intention of acknowledging or rectifying their discrimination. “We cannot and will not please everyone” pretty well sums it up.
Does it please you, dear readers, that a woman in transition was accused of being a sex worker, denied the opportunity to face her accusers and in the end, discovers it was a cover for the real discrimination?
Does it please you, dear readers, that an organization honoring all women and the coming out process blatantly disrespects the unique (aren't they all?) coming out of a sister in transition?
Does it please you, dear readers, that CTN will not clarify their policies on background checks nor confirm if they are universally conducted?
Does it please you, dear readers, that CTN has subtly implied through various email messages that Jessi's behavior was vaguely threatening throughout the process with no real specifics? Doesn't that nicely reinforce the stereotype and tap into lesbian fears that she's really a man?
Does it please you, dear readers, that CTN will review their policies for next year? If policies are discriminatory, isn't now the time to address them? How will they do so? Will they contact the Pittsburgh Transsexual Support Group or Persad for assistance in reviewing those policies?
Personally, I need a bit more to go on before I would drop $20.00 at this point.
There should be more breaking on this story today. Live from Lesbian Central ….