Posted on behalf of Karina, Mosaic Intern for Hispanic, Latinx, and Indigenous Student Engagement
Dear UMBC Community,
On Friday, March 8, 2019, I created a post regarding International Women's Day, except I used the word "Womyn's." Thanks to a learning moment, initiated by you- UMBC community members who read our Mosaic posts- I now know about the problematic and exclusive history behind this word for trans women. I unknowingly excluded trans women from our International Women's Day celebratory post. Nevertheless, I apologize to all whom I harmed by ignorantly using the word, "womyn."
For all who are unaware of this word's history, this is a brief overview: On July 1975, the Lesbian Connection magazine covered the Wolf Creek Womyn's Festival, run by the Women's Liberation Front. They are typically white, cis-gender, radical feminists who only welcome "females who survived girlhood." This implies that trans women are excluded from their movement, hence the exclusionary meaning in "womyn." To learn more, I encourage you to read the following posts by everydayfeminism and the Boston Globe that explain the complicated history and more recent iterations of related terms.
In any case, it is important in diversity and inclusion work to call-in folk when we intentionally or unintentionally cause harm through insensitive language or actions. In this case, I appreciate all who reached out to us to do so. I personally want to thank you for making the brave decision to call-in and for reading. If you have any further questions regarding this post or any of our LGBTQ+ resources and programming, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Karina Aquiahuatl Villagran