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Rites of Passage: Editor’s Remarks (1993-1994)

Rites of Passage: Editor’s Remarks (1993-1994)

©1993, 1994, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Rites of Passage was the official newsletter of the New Woman’s conference. I edited and laid out three issues. This page contains my contributions to the text and PDFS of the issues.





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Dallas Denny. (1993, Winter). Welcome. Rites of Passage, 2(1), p. 1.

Dallas Denny. (1993, Winter). A word from the editor. Rites of Passage, 2(1), p. 2.

Dallas Denny. (1993, Summer). Inclusion? Exclusion? The issue of transsexual participation in woman-only events. Rites of Passage, 2(2), p. 1.

Dallas Denny. (1993, Summer). A word from the editor. Rites of Passage, 2(2), p. 2.

Dallas Denny. (1993, Summer). Editor’s soapbox: On hatefulness in pronoun usage. Rites of Passage, 2(2), p. 6.

Dallas Denny. (1993-1994, Winter). A conversation with Kate Bornstein. Rites of Passage (3, 1), pp. 1, 4-5.

Dallas Denny. (1993-1994, Winter). A word from the editor. Rites of Passage, 3(1), p. 2.

Dallas Denny. (1993-1994, Winter). Miscellanea. Rites of Passage, 3(1), p. 7.


Rites of Passage began as a magazine published by activist Anne Ogborn. It became a newsletter after the second New Woman’s Conference; in fact, it became the official newsletter of the conference. Ann’s magazine continued with the title Transsexual News Telegraph with Gail Sondegaard as Editor and Katharine Collins as art director.

I edited the spin-off newsletter and did layout. The layout wasn’t my best effort, I think because of my unfortunate choice of the Zapf Chancery font.  I don’t think there was an editor after me, so V. 3 No. 1 was almost certainly the last issue.

The New Woman Conference was a three-day retreat for post-operative transsexual women.  It ran for perhaps a half-dozen years.

My written contributions are below. You can read the text or touch the buttons to open PDFs of the three issues I edited.


Volume 2, No. 1, Winter 1993

Welcome (Text)

©1993, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Source: Dallas Denny. (1993, Winter). Welcome. Rites of Passage, 2(1), p. 1.



Welcome to the first issue of Rites of Passage, the official newsletter of the New Woman Conference. To those of you who may not know who we are, the NWC is an annual retreat limited to postoperative transsexual women and their female partners. The conference is woman-only space in which new women can heal their wounds and look to their futures. The climax of the conference is a literal rite of passage in which those who have recently had surgery are welcomed by their sisters in a ritual which celebrates their blood ties.

Those interested in attending NWC 1993, which will be held near San Francisco, California, should write or call for information.

A Word from the Editor (Text)

©1993, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Source: Dallas Denny. (1993, Winter). A word from the editor. Rites of Passage, 2(1), p. 2.


A Word from the Editor

Hello, and welcome to the first issue of the new Rites of Passage, the official publication of the New Woman Conference. We will be publishing twice a year, before and after the conference, which is held in September. I’m aware of some happenings from the 1992 NWC participants. Anne Ogborn, who was last year’s editor, has been very active lately in the founding of Transgender Nation, and as the publisher of her still (so far as I know) magazine. She’s planning a trip to India (Anne: I’ve learned to play Two Rude Girls’ Rufus & Beverly on the guitar, but the chords to Phillips & Romanovsky’s Our Mothers’ Clothes escape me.). Rachel Pollack has just returned from Denmark, where she conducted a seaside memorial to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Christine Jorgensen’s return from Scandinavia after her change. Rachel’s article, Transsexual Rights and Others recently appeared in the San Francisco Bay Times; it was a breath of fresh air in the midst of the Bay Times’ ongoing controversy about transsexual people at womyn-only events. Angela Wensley quit her job of long standing and started a consulting business, which is thriving and has taken her, among other places, to New Zealand. I saw Wendi Kaiser and Janis Walworth at Womens’ Week in Provincetown, Massachutsetts. Christina Young has moved from Massachusetts to Atlanta. And I was given an award by, of all people, Tri-Ess, an organization of heterosexual crossdressers which has more than a few of us in its ranks. Unfortunately, the Tri-Ess ranks also contain a great many crossdressers who aspire to transsexualism. I got the award for knowing the difference.

I am your friendly editor. I’m 43 years old. My surgery was done by Dr. Michel Seghers in July, 1991. For me, SRS was the logical conclusion to 28 years of gender dysphoria. For me, the NWC was a recognition of the journey I had made, a recognition that I had passed through a portal. Also, the NWC was a vacation from the generalized hyperactivity of my life. If I don’t make NWC 1993, you’ll know something about the state of my finances.

Please consider this a call for material for the newsletter. With the exception of Christina’s analysis of the 1992 data, I’m producing this issue from a vacuum, thinking as I write.

So what I think I will talk about is the ongoing controversy in the San Francisco Bay Times. What happened is this, as well as I can reconstruct it, not having seen the entire exchange: several months ago the paper printed an angry letter from a lesbian separatist feminist called Bev Jo. In her letter, Ms. Jo accused a now post-operative transsexual woman of having sexually harassed her when she was a man. With the assistance of our own Anne Ogborn, Christine Tayleur, and perhaps others who protected her anonymity, the accused responded. There were letters and counter letters. Then, in the 3 December issue, the playwright Kate Bornstein published an article in which she wrote, “It’s (the) male sense of entitlement carried into their new lives as transsexual women… that ends up with the transgression of lesbian space, identity, and power. If violence is defined as a non-consensual act upon someone’s space or person, then transsexuals are nothing short of violent if they demand admission into the ranks of ‘women born women’ lesbian separatists who don’t want transsexuals there.” Her article has re-galvanized the controversy, resulting in a barrage of letters from transsexual people who felt betrayed by Kate.

The issue of transsexual inclusion in woman-only events is a thorny one, dating from at least 1979, when Janice Raymond, that bastion of twisted sensibilities, argued against it in her book The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male. The exchange of letters in the Bay Times and the expulsion of Nancy Burkholder from the 1991 Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival is proof the issue is very much alive.

I can think of no better jumping-off point for Rites of Passage than the issue of transsexual inclusion at woman-only events. The next issue will recap the debate in full, and then I think we will be off and running. In the meanwhile I would love to hear your thoughts on the manner. Send them to me.


Volume 2, No. 2, Summer 1993

Inclusion? Exclusion? (Text)

©1993, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Source: Dallas Denny. (1993, Summer). Inclusion? Exclusion? The issue of transsexual participation in woman-only events.

Rites of Passage, 2(2), p. 1.


Inclusion? Exclusion? The Issue of Transsexual Participation in Woman-only Events

In 1979 the Feminist Press published The Transsexual Empire by Janice R. Raymond, a political manifesto which masqueraded as a work of science. She showed her true colors on the first page of the preface, when she said of Renée Richards, “It takes (castrated) balls to play women’s tennis.”

Unfortunately, despite its preposterous thesis (male-to-female transsexualism is a conspiracy by male physicians to render females obsolete), and despite its vitriolic, hate-filled tone, Raymond’s book was taken and continues to be taken seriously by feminist and other scholars.

More than ten years after publication of The Transsexual Empire, the issue of whether those persons Raymond called “Male-to-Constructed-Females” are in fact women is still argued. In 1991, NWC’s own Nancy Burkholder was forcibly expelled from the 16th Annual Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival. And throughout 1993 the controversy raged in San Francisco’s Bay Times, a gay-oriented newspaper (see excerpts on Page 4). The letters column raged pro and con transsexual exclusion, especially after the appearance of an article by Cal C. Phoenix on 21 May, describing the educational action of NWC’s own Anne Ogborn and NWC’s own nancy Burkholder at the 17th Annual Womyn’s Music Festival. A letter by Bev Jo on 22 October, echoing Raymond’s Transsexual Empire (see Transsexuals and Heterosexual Male Arrogance” on pages 2 & 3), accused a transsexual she had known in high school of sexually harassing her. She was outraged that the transsexual woman (Jo deliberately used male pronouns to refer to her) was now active in lesbian circles.

The accused person responded anonymously to Bev Jo’s allegations on 5 November, aided by the newly-formed activist organization Transgender Nation. More letters were published, written by transsexual and other persons, both in opposition to and support of Ms. Jo– and then on 3 December, an article by Kate Bornstein, who is herself post-operative, essentially agreed with Raymond and Jo. Bornstein went even further in her “plan for peace” by writing that transsexual persons are “nothing short of violent if they demand admission into the ranks of ‘women born women’ lesbian separatists who don’t want transsexuals there.”

The year ended with a marvelous piece by NWC’s own Rachel Pollock, entitled Transsexual Rights and Others, which appeared on 17 December. Her poem Many Things I Am Not and a Few Things I Am is reproduced on page 5.

A Word From the Editor (Text)

©1993, 1994, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Source: Dallas Denny. (1993, Summer). A word from the editor. Rites of Passage, 2(2), p. 2.


A Word from the Editor

Hello, and welcome to the second issue of Rites of Passage, the newsletter of the New Women’s Conference. It wasn’t easy, but I managed to tear myself away from Stephen King’s Four Past Midnight long enough to get this issue to press.

We really get our feet wet with this issue. The topic of transsexual persons in woman-only events is one which elicits high feelings in both transsexual persons and in separatist lesbians. We’ve focused on the controversy as it was recently played out in the pages of San Francisco’s Bay Times (… and a tip of the hat to Anne Ogborn, who was good enough to send us full-sized photocopies of the relevant pages). We hope to receive your opinion for issue #3. And Davina Anne Gabriel, thank you for the letter expressing your opinion (see page 3).

Another controversy has been the issue of adding the word transgender to the title of the March on Washington (which is going on even as I write this. So why aren’t I there? Oh, yes. No money). Although the word transgender was added to the various planks, it was left off the title of the march.

My initial reaction to the vote to not include us in the name was to blow off the march. Not support it. But then, in April at the IFGE conference, Alison Laing said something I recognized as Truth, with a capital T. She said, “Even if we’re not included, we should support the march, because it’s the right thing to do.”

Of course. The right thing to do. So I supported the march, because it was the right thing to do. And turnabout is fair play. The dignity and rights of transsexual eople should be supported by gay and lesbian people because it is the right thing to do.

Well, Stephen King beckons. Until next time…

On Hatefulness in Pronoun Usage (Text)

©1993, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Source: Dallas Denny. (1993, Summer). Editor’s soapbox: On hatefulness in pronoun usage. Rites of Passage, 2(2), p. 6.


Editor’s Soapbox: On Hatefulness in Pronoun Usage

A common ploy of writers with axes to grind about transsexual people is to refer to us with inappropriate pronouns. An example is Bev Jo’s letter on pp. 2-3, in which “he” (Jo) refers to a postoperative male-to-female person with masculine pronouns (see how it works?). The practice is unfortunately common in the medical and psychological literature of gender dysphoria. It is common for those who have been living cross-gender for years (and who may even be post-surgical) to be referred to with pronouns which absolutely do not describe their appearance, behavior, self-image, or social role.

Psychotherapists have been among the worst offenders. Leslie Lothsteini, in “her” (yes, Lothstein is male) book Male-to-Female Transsexualism, is a consistent offender: “For the past two years Barbara (age 28) had assumed a male identity, dressing full-time as a male and living and working as a male. She sported a ducktail hairdo, dressed in an exaggerated male style, and related to everyone as a man” (emphasis mine).

Whether or not one believes it is possible to change sex, the use of a pronoun consistent with an individual’s self-image is a sign of respect. It does not mean you are in agreement, only that you have regard for the individual as a human being.

The deliberate misuse of pronouns is more than an insult: it is the basest, lowest thing an individual can do to a transsexual person. It is analogous to calling an African-American that infamous name that begins with N. It is hitting below the belt. It is reprehensible. It is transphobic.

Transgendered persons deserve the right to be called by the pronoun they choose, just as they deserve to live as they choose.


Volume 3, No. 1, Winter 1993-1994

A Conversation with Kate Bornstein (Text)

©1994, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Source: Dallas Denny. (1993-1994, Winter. A conversation with Kate Bornstein. Rites of Passage (3, 1), pp. 1, 4-5.


A Conversation with Kate Bornstein

I first became aware of Kate Bornstein when she appeared on the first “transsexual regrets” episode of Geraldo. She was pretty and witty and gay (she self-identified as a lesbian). When asked if she had ever had an orgasm with her new vagina, she said with a big smile, “The plumbing works, and so does the electricity.”

Kate’s plays Hidden: A Gender and The Opposite Sex is Neither have been very well received, and she has been outspoken in her views on transsexualism.

On 3 December, 1992, an article by Kate appeared in The San Francisco Bay Times, an alternative newspaper. Her article was written in response to a series of heated exchanges between lesbian separatists and transgendered and transsexual persons in the letters column.

Kate phoned me after she read the last issue of Rites of Passage. In describing the controversy, I had used a brief quotation from her article.  She felt that I and others had misunderstood her intent. When I carefully re-read the article, I realized she was right (at least as far as I was concerned.

When Kate explained that she had been harassed by members of the transgender community, I suggested we have a phone interview so she could clarify her position. The following conversation took place in late summer, 1993.

Dallas: For the readers of this newsletter, will you establishe your credentials as a transsexual?

Kate: My credentials as a transsexual? I’m a post-operative transsexual. I was born with a penis. I went to Dr. Biber– I’m a Biber baby– it would be about seven or eight years ago. I had my genital surgery, and I’ve been living as a woman now for at least eight years.

Dallas: There was an article in The Bay Times which you wrote last year. Would you tell me how you came to write it?

Kate: There’s a pocket of lesbian separatists in the East Bay. They’ve been quite hostile in the presence of transgendered people in general, and have been making that known in the Bay Times.

More frequently of late, transgendered people have been writing back. The tone on both sides was so angry that I couldn’t pick up the paper without crying. It was so sad. I’m 45. I’ve seen the rise of the Black civil rights movement, and I’ve seen the rise of the gay and lesbian civil rights movement. I’ve seen them both go down this very angry pathway, and it scares the hell out of me. I saw this happening with my own community, and I thought, “Maybe there’s a way to make it happen in a way with not quite so much anger.” I mean, anger’s fine, but not when it’s spilling out at other people. So I wrote the article, hoping to direct the disagreement away from violence and toward conversation.

As you well know, the article was badly interpreted by some people. I guess I didn’t speak it clearly enough for some people.

Dallas: The reactions of some transgendered people to the article has affected you personally, hasn’t it? The reaction has been pretty violent.

Kate: Well, what I would call violent. The people who are angry with me would certainly object to my use of that term. But I would call violent any kind of unwelcome intrusion into a person’s space. I’ve had to get an unlisted number because for the first time in my life I started to receive threatening phone calls– and they were from transgendered people. It was devastating. That wiped me out.

I’ve been out there doing stuff, but never with this reaction. After I did the Donahue show. I was walking along the street with my lover, and that was so cool, you know. “Goo’ for you.” This is the first time I’ve ever been attacked or threatened for my work.

Dallas: And it was from other transgendered people.

Kate: Yes.

Dallas: The use of the word violent may be key here, because in reading your article, you do use the word. You wrote that transsexual people were nothing short of violent if they imposed themselves into space where they weren’t wanted, into “women born women” separatist space. This is one phase to which people have objected. Will you explain what you meant?

Kate: I haven’t looked at the article for a while— I’m kind of shying away from it, but I’m pretty sure I described my definition of violent, as I mentioned to you, as a nonconsensual intrusion into someone’s space or person. That’s what I meant by violence. I wasn’t referring to torches or hangman’s nooses, but to taking someone’s space. I do believe that is violent. I don’t believe violence is a way to go about getting something done. Nowhere in the article do I say we don’t belong in womyn-only spaces. I just don’t think we need violence to get there. I don’t think we need to force ourselves in there. For example, after that article, there was an action taken to conduct a survey for womyn attending the festival. I thought that was a beautiful action. It was perfect. Perfect. That kind of stuff is exactly what we need. But not the anger. Not the meanness of it. Not calling someone a Nazi. It’s gotten back to me that people are calling me a Nazi. I doubt the people calling me that have had family wiped out in the death camps like I have.

Dallas: You weren’t saying we don’t belong in womyn-only space. You were saying we don’t belong in separatist space.

Kate: Yes. Exactly. In fact, I thought that was pretty clear in the statement you quoted. I’ll paraphrase it. It was the one where I said, “We don’t belong in the ranks of womyn-born-womyn-only lesbian separatists.” I didn’t even talk about space. I didn’t want to join in any way people who are divisive. And those people are extremely divisive. I think they’re going to devise themselves out of existence. I don’t think we’re going to have to work on that.

My belief is some people have found the correct target– those who hold the gender system in place like the Sword of Damocles over our heads and other body parts. The lesbian and gay community is an embattled minority. We don’t need to give them another enemy. I mean, speaking purely from a tactician’s point of view, we’re going to be a lot easier to get than the the enemy they’re currently fighting, and if they need a quick victory, it’s going to be us. I think what we need to do is move along the lines of what Leslie Feinberg is doing, which is proper education, letting people know what transgendered people are all about in their relationship to the gay and lesbian community. This is my preferred mode of action. If I have rage, it’s at the people who lock this entire system in place and then oppress us using the system, which is a false system.

Dallas: Alison Laing says we don’t need to turn the cannons inward, and certainly the divisiveness between the separatist lesbians and transgendered people is a good example of that. And so have the cannons which have been unleashed on your as a result of this article. Do you have anything to say to the people who are so angry at you?

Kate: I wish we could communicate. I wish I could sit down and talk with them. I did try that once. It didn’t work. I don’t know. I don’t know.

Dallas: I think your position and theirs aren’t that far apart, and that your article has been misinterpreted. I misinterpreted it myself. Certainly, hateful phone calls are uncalled for. But dialog is needed. I would call on them to have some dialog with you.

Kate: Thanks. I should explain the hateful phone calls, for I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea there, either. No one called me and said, “Fuck you, you jerk!” or anything like that. It was more along the lines of the threat of an action, and when I asked what an action was, they wouldn’t tell me.

I’m a performance artist. At the time I also supported myself by doing telemarketing on a part-time basis. I get gigs. They were threatening to hold actions at my work. Well, that could really effectively silence me, and that scared the hell out of me. I do my art because I love transgendered people. I do my work because no one was doing this kind of work. I made a promise I would be there for people, and I broke that promise when I had to get an unlisted phone number.

Because of my appearances on Geraldo and Donahue, I would get phone calls from transsexuals all over the country. I remember when Tula’s first book came out. I wanted to call her. I wanted to say, “I think I’m like you.” I’ve always kept the same phone line, and it hurt when I had to get an unlisted number. I don’t know what to do about my phone now, because some of those names are so hurtful, and the names they called me in print were so hurtful. That doesn’t help. It doesn’t help. It makes me more quiet. Is that good? It makes me less brave. Is that a great thing?

Dallas: I think the proper thing to do is have dialog. And if after reading this interview, the parties in question still feel your position is that different from theirs, then perhaps there should be discussion, perhaps , at least at first. But discussion means two-way communication, and hopefully you can talk face-to-face. Many of you are in the same city, and it wouldn’t be too hard to manage.

Kate: I tried discussion with one woman, but it just didn’t work. I think we need something a bit more moderated. Becaue what’s happening is– I was refrring earlier to the civil rights movement. It may just be that there are divergent philosophies about how to deal with this. But we cannot afford to cnotinue to hit each other. We don’t necessarily have to present a unified front, but there is no call for meannes in this movement. None. That’s what I want to say.

Dallas: If we are going to use anger, it needs to be outside the ranks of transgendered people.

Kate: Even there compassion is needed. If we expect people to be compassionate with us– this is where my ideas start to diverse from others’, and I know that– it’s my nature. I was a war protester in the sixties. I really believe that in the long run we’re going to get our needs met with compassion. If we want to be treated with compassion, we need to act with compassion. This does not mean we lie down in the face of oppression, but it does mean we have to understand that the people who are oppressing us don’t know a thing about us and are scared shitless by us. We’re stepping very heavily on something very basic in their nature. I’m saying be compassionate. That’s what I don’t see happening in some cases. That makes me very sad.

Dallas: I think compassion is a word that can be used to characterize your approach. My own approach uses logic. If you use discourse and logic as tools, the more rational people will come to understand. And also we can understand ourselves better.

There are some people who use anger as a tool. I think that’s legitimate, and that the more radical element among the transgendered population can open some doors. Perhaps they’ll close some as well, but the lesbian separatists are never going to accept us. My feelings about the lesbian separatists is that they are such damaged human beings that essentially there needs to be some control over them. There’s a lot of hate there. There’s a lot of education that needs to be done., but essentially what they need to do is to go to lesbian separatist-only space and leave the womyn-only space to all womyn.

Kate: I wouldn’t disagree with that at all. I went to… have you ever been to a womyn-only event.

Dallas: Perhaps the ladies room. I’ve never been to anything like the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival.

Kate: I went once. I guess it was about six years ago. I directed a play called Last Summer at Littlefish Cove by Jane Chambers.It was the first time there was a play by a lesbian presented on the main stage in Philadelphia. There was an eight-woman cast, all lesbians. It was really great. We ran for four nights and were extended another eight. Sure enough, there were women who refused to come see it. “How come that man is involved wit this, blah, blah, blah.” Then we got invited to perform at this thing called LFW, Lesbian Feminist Weekend, which is kind of a mini version of the MWMF. Since I didn’t have a part in the production, I said, “I”m not going to go. You go.” I didn’t want to put myself out in front of all that shit. But the cast said, “No, no, no, we’ll get a cabin together.” It could have been such a great place. I mean, nothing but women running around. It felt so free there, and just when I was feeling great, someone would say, “What are you doing here? It was horrible. I would love to go to a womyn-only event, but I’m never going to go to a separatist-only event.

Dallas: What are you are suggesting as a way of controlling the very aggressive, outreaching attack on us by the lesbian feminist separatists?

Kate: Exactly what we’re doing. Naming it for what it is, and naming it with compassion. I tried to convey this in a lighter way in my article by saying they need their healing space. It may take a whole lifetime for them to heal from whatever wounds they perceive they’ve got– and whatever real wounds they’ve got. I did not wound them, and I’m assuming neither did you or the people reading this article. But they think we did.

Dallas: And so they’re wounding us.

Kate: Yeah. We can’t make the same mistake. We can’t keep the chain going. We can’t hit back. Someone has to say no, and it’s got to be us. Otherwise, we’re going to find ourselves oppressing some other group, and they’re going to hit us too. It’s gotta stop here. We have an opportunity to form a movement based on love and compassion. If we fuck it up this time, there’s just going to be another movement that’s going to have the opportunity to do it. But I’d like to think that because of the pain that most of us have gone through, there is a well of compassion that does not need to be covered up in the name of anger and rage.

Thank you so much for this opportunity. I learned a lot these past seven months.

When we spoke with Kate just before we went to press, she told us things have begun to turn around since we spoke in the Fall.

We’re happy we were able to provide Kate with a forum for her views.

A Word from the Editor (Text)

©1994, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Source: Dallas Denny. (1993-1994, Winter). A word from the editor. Rites of Passage, 3(1), p. 2.


A Word From the Editor

The letter to the editor by Dawn Koro on page 3 brings up a valid point– by calling ourselves “new women,” do we exclude others? And moreover, do we limit ourselves by calling ourselves “new” women? I think the answer on both counts is yes. Obviously, Dawn felt excluded by our terminology. And I’m not feeling particularly “new” these days myself.

The New Woman Conference is a remarkable forum for those of us who have had surgery; it allows us to compare experiences and explore our anatomy, and those of us who are “new” undergo a rite of passage confirming our new status. The NWC can’t be described, for it is beyond words; it must be experienced. The caring and sharing, the closeness, the sense of belongingness is available nowhere else.

At least, that’s what I once thought. This September, unable to get to NWC, I attended a weekend retreat in Hot Springs, North Carolina. Thirteen of us met for the same kind of bonding previously found only at NWC. I was the only one present who had had surgery. Of the other twelve, several were considering vaginoplasty, one was considering castration and penectomy, and the others didn’t want surgery. Several had little or no physical feminization. And yet there was never for one moment any doubt that I was with a group of women.

NWC, as wonderful as it is, is only one of many possible forums for self-discovery. We don’t meet to exclude women who have not had or do not want surgery, but to share the commonality of our experience. We do not wish to cut ourselves off from pre-operative or non-operative women, for we have much to teach them, and much to learn from them. We seek only a space where we can explore our private issues and the private spaces of our bodies.

Perhaps our choice of name is unfortunate– we not not mean to imply that others are not women– but we have undergone an experience unique in the human condition, and we need a special place for celebration and discussion.

Miscellanea (Text)

©1993, 1994, 2013 by Dallas Denny

Source: Dallas Denny. (1993-1994, Winter). Miscellanea. Rites of Passage, 3(1), p. 7.



First, let me say that my opinions as editor of Rites of Passage are mine and do not necessarily reflect that of NWC or other NWC participants. I’ve been wanting to say that, and this seemed like a good space for it.

A few readers of the last issue wonder if, because our page one story featured a transsexual lesbian, NWC attendance was limited to transsexual lesbians. Nothing could be further from the truth. NWC is nondiscriminatory in regard to race, creed, religion, national origin, political preference, and sexual orientation. Some attendees are lesbian-identified, and some are not. Some attendees are Christian, and others are not. We welcome diversity. Our only criterion for attendance is the individual must be postoperative, or the partner of a postoperative woman. This criterion is made to give the group focus, and not to exclude people or to imply that they any less women than we are.

Since I wrote my reply to Dawn Koro’s letter, something exciting has happened. Several of the organizers of the first NWC are sponsoring a workshop called Full Circle of Women. The workshop is to be held 4-6 February at the Essex Conference Center in Essex, Massachusetts. Essex, which is about an hour’s drive from Boston, was the site of the first two NWCs.

The Full Circle of Women is open to anyone who identifies as and lives as a woman. It will be a quality event in a private, beautiful location, well worth attending by both pre-op and post-op women.

Click to View PDFs of the Issues


Rites of Passage, V. 2, No. 1, Winter, 1993

Rites of Passage, V. 2, No. 2, Summer, 1993

Rites of Passage, V. 3, No. 1, Winter 1993-1994