Indigo Girls Encourage Michigan Womyn's Music Festival Protest Over Transgender Exclusion

BYRON BAY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 23:  Indigo Girls perform on stage during day three of the Bluesfest Music Festival at Tyagarah
BYRON BAY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 23: Indigo Girls perform on stage during day three of the Bluesfest Music Festival at Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm on April 23, 2011 in Byron Bay, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Though they'll be on hand to perform, the Indigo Girls are encouraging a protest against the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival for the event's continued exclusion of transgender women.

On their website, the folk-rock duo vowed to donate proceeds from their performance during the festival, which is scheduled for August 6-11, to transgender activism.

"We have made it clear that this will be our last time at the Festival until MWMF shows visible and concrete signs of changing their intention," Amy Ray and Emily Saliers wrote on their site. "We have no animosity towards anyone in this case but see the deep and fearless legacy that MWMF has had during its existence and we honor that. We also honor the prayerfulness that has been a part of this struggle on both sides."

You can read the full statement here.

Since 1976, cisgender women have gathered at the festival to participate in hundreds of workshops, play sports and more at the festival, which was created "by and for womyn-born womyn, that is, womyn who were born as and have lived their entire life experience as womyn," as festival founder and producer Lisa Vogel described in a 2006 press release.

The exclusion of transgender women has caused a stir within community and beyond. There is currently a petition circulating online to boycott the MWMF until the organizers fully include transgender women.

Hanifah Walidah, Toshi Reagon, THEESatisfaction, God Des and She, and Nona Hendryx are among artists who are performing at this year's festival.

As The Stranger notes, a trans woman was kicked out of the music festival, which ignited a direct protest that is known as "Camp Trans," which is held directly across the road from the entry gate to MWMF, with hopes of changing the festival's policy in 1991.

Echoing the sentiments of Indigo Girls, Andrea Gibson recently announced her decision to cancel her performance at MWMF after receiving "heartfelt" feedback in light of the festival's policy to be exclusive to cisgender women.



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