- All Jane Comedy
When I posted the lineup for this year's All Jane Comedy Fest earlier this week, I speculated as to why the festival's name had been changed from All Jane No Dick to its newer, politer iteration. Commenters wondered if the change was a response to the lone male protester who accused the fest of sexism last year. So I checked in with festival publicist Maura Brown, who sent me an explanation from festival founder Stacey Hallal. Turns out, the name change had nothing to do with MRA protesters, but was made in response to criticisms from the trans community. This comes straight from Hallal; bolds are from me to you, if you're in tl;dr mood:
Last year, the All Jane No Dick Comedy Festival became the center of an attack by both a highly vocal men’s rights activist and some members of the trans community. The Men’s Rights activist was certainly annoying, but we felt no need to change our behavior in any way to appease him because we fundamentally disagree with him. However, we were genuinely upset to find ourselves suddenly at odds with the trans community. We consider ourselves allies and were excited to have a hilarious trans comic in our line up. While we weren’t happy with the ways some people raised our awareness of these issues, we still realized we needed to give serious consideration to the arguments against the name All Jane No Dick. After many months of research, conversation and soul searching, it came down to one undeniable fact, we just couldn’t live with the idea that there might be a trans comic somewhere out there who didn’t or wouldn’t apply to the festival because she felt excluded by the name. Our mission is to inspire, encourage and showcase ALL KINDS of women in comedy. We decided that if our name wasn’t fully serving that mission, then we had to change it.
Some will probably claim that the move is unnecessary, or level accusations that it's too "PC." But I get it. All Jane is wonderful precisely because it presents an alternative to the straight/cis/white male-dominated spaces and shows that (regrettably) make up much of mainstream comedy. Representing marginalized voices in any arts scene is hugely important, and it's hard work. All Jane's unequivocal support for trans stand-ups is huge—and, sadly, pretty unusual—especially in a cultural landscape where even some women-only arts festivals have excluded transwomen.
So there you have it. All Jane just became even more inclusive, making it even more of a nightmare for MRAs everywhere—which is as it should be. Or as Hallal puts it, "[O]ur festival is for women. Trans women are women." Not really a difficult concept, is it?