Statement for Wil-Mar Board of Directors August 29 2019
by Thistle Pettersen with a little help from her friends
Good evening. Thank you for putting me on your meeting’s agenda. I would like to thank all of my supporters for writing letters, signing the petition at DefendFeminists.net and for being here this evening to bear witness at this event.
I am here because I have faith in the social health of our Madison community in publicly shared spaces. I believe that most of us want to be as inclusive as possible and that we, here in this neighborhood especially, care about truth-telling, problem solving, community building and social justice.
Democracy is predicated on the ability of citizens to speak our minds without fear of reprisal. We can and should discuss politics and ideologies. I trust that all of you agree that free expression and civil dialogue and discussion of the politics of the day in appropriate arenas such as a news program on WORT or at a women’s march or at universities and on college campuses is good for our democracy, and ultimately, for the health of our neighborhoods.
You don’t have to agree with me, but publicly ostracizing me and banning me for holding an opinion is just wrong. Although I disagree with transgender ideology, I have always, and continue to support civil rights for transgender individuals. One resident of Madison, Christine Elaine, led the campaign to get community members to communicate with the Wil-Mar to deny me the opportunity of playing with ESAE on Wil-Mar’s stage. This happened after weeks of rehearsals I attended playing songs unrelated to transgender politics. Are you aware that Dumpster Dick, Christine Elaine’s band, plays shows in our neighborhood at venues Thistle & Thorns, my band, were eligible to play before Christine’s bullying smear campaigns against me? Are you aware that one of DD’s songs is called TERF destroyer666? Does it concern you that feminists consider the term “TERF” to be a slur used to incite anger and violence against women and women’s free speech?
For the record, I have never tried to undermine the wage jobs of any members of Dumpster D**k, nor have I called them out on FB trying to get locals behind a smear campaign against them, nor have I sent any members of DD human feces in the mail, nor have I led campaigns to call venues where DD is playing to demand they blacklist this band, but all of these tactics have been used against me by members of our community here in Madison.
It seems that the Will-Mar has been caught up in this bullying campaign against me. So, I and my supporters, have some questions…
1. Why am I “not allowed the opportunity to perform on Wil-Mar’s stage” and how long has this policy been in place?
2. What needs to happen for the restrictions on me to be lifted? Is there an expiration date for the ban?
3. Why was there no “due process” before the ban was issued where I could have the chance to meet my accusers and defend myself from their accusations?
4. Are there any other performers banned from your stage? If so, what are the circumstances of those cases?
5. Are your board meeting minutes from previous meetings where you have discussed this issue available for public viewing? If so, where? What is the best way to be in touch with the Wil-Mar board about community concerns about space use at the center?