The Bloodroot is a small vegan restaurant.  Their crime? Having the absolute gall and audacity to state – in a feminist space no less – that they believe in supporting women born women.  It  is enough of a transgression to bring the trans-hoarde along with the usual threats, cyberbullying, and harassment (typical aggressive male behaviour) that uppity women (in this case two elderly lesbians) get for not bowing down to prescribed male reality.

 

The backstory

“Bloodroot Vegetarian Restaurant has been a beloved staple of Bridgeport, Conn. for more than 40 years, serving up feminist-influenced plant-based fare to the likes of Audre Lordre and Adrienne Rich, as well as dedicated locals. But a recent review alleging that owners Selma Miriam and Noel Furie reject transgender customers has set off a firestorm online.

For many, the fallout has echoes of the Michfest debate, which divided LGBTQ women for more than two decades. And while the review has since been removed, it appears in screenshots on Facebook, and Bloodroot’s own statement in response has kept the conversation going.

In the review from late December, a customer writes that upon a visit to Bloodroot, she was having lunch with a friend when she began speaking with Miriam and Furie about up Lorde having been a friend of the restaurant. The conversation turned to the customer’s own dream of having a “queer and trans intentional community and sanctuary.”

“Immediately Selma and Noel looked at one another and Selma said, ‘[W]e strongly believe in supporting only women born women here,” the customer alleges. “‘[W]e are disgusted by men who think they can put on dresses and nail polish and pump themselves up with nail polish and pump themselves with chemicals and say they are women. [T]hey just aren’t. and we will never support them.'”

The customer then she she felt uncomfortable and afraid, and is now advocating that others “refuse to support them and encourage others to do the same.”

Both Miriam and Furie declined to be interviewed for this piece, but in a Dec. 31 statement posted to their Facebook page, Bloodroot says the controversy stemmed from a conversation with a new customer who asked if they knew of an establishment that catered to trans people.

“We didn’t,” the statement reads, “but since we are not trans, it wasn’t all that interesting to us personally and stated that for us, we prefer women only spaces. This comes from our history. When Bloodroot first started in the 70’s [sic] we were trying to create a space specifically safe for women, since there were so few places like that at the time. Of course even back then we were open and welcoming to everyone, not just women.”

The post goes on to say that customer misunderstood that reply and wrote a post online slamming Bloodroot.

“We understand this is a subject matter that many people are passionate about, but we feel this anger is misguided and misplaced,” Bloodroot says in the statement. “Regardless of how you feel about Bloodroot’s stand on this, we will continue to be a welcoming space for all types of people, including those that are transgender, and treat everyone with respect.”

After the Restaurant’s FB post, Charlie Rae answers the call and deftly puts the situation into perspective (especially the last paragraph).