One of the many articles The Lesbian Tide published after the West Coast Lesbian Conference, this article tells the story of one of the much-maligned organizers. Whether it actually is excerpted from diary entries is unclear, especially since they sound as if they’re being made in the moment. However, due to its narrative form, this is by far the best and most in-depth article in terms of its storytelling capabilities. The action is infused with a tension and sense of chaos typically absent in journal articles, especially in the conflict over Beth Elliott’s initial appearance and the description of feminists almost physically attacking a “Jesus freak” who protested the conference.
Given that the conference organizers were the people most blamed for the conflict over Beth Elliott’s speech–after, of course, Elliott herself–this is an interesting perspective. It’s also seemingly the only article to mention several compelling events, such as the blind trans woman who took the stage to call for people to stop tormenting Beth Elliott, and the fact that there was an entire group from SF that organized and pre-made a bunch of fliers to pass out ridiculing Elliott and transgender women in general.
What’s especially interesting about this piece is that it’s a rare example of a feminist speaking on trans women who is herself ambivalent. Generally, opinions are either supportive, or much more commonly, outright condemnatory. Thus, the author’s decision to admit that she does not know the answers to her questions, but still opposes the treatment of Beth Elliott is striking, as is her comment, “I honestly don’t know. But until I do, I feel that I cannot oppress someone who just might be my sister.”