Disclaimer: This episode is full of obscenities and is probably not safe for work. Additionally, it contains words relating to sexual identity that may be offensive to some. All this vocabulary is not included gratuitously, but reflects the usage of the podcast’s subject, Finisia Medrano, a trans woman with a mouth like a sailor. You’ve been warned.
part 1: “Meeting Fin”
part 2: “Work & Conflict”
part 3: “Mission & Last Memories”
YouTube link (all three parts together)
A rabble-rouser in occupied America
In this special edition of “Voices for Nature & Peace,” I speak with six people who knew Finisia Medrano, aka “Fin,” aka “Tranny Granny.”
Fin died on April 3rd, 2020, so this release marks that first year anniversary.
Fin was a well-known, or rather, notorious personality in rewilding, wildtending, and primitive skills circles. Her name was both praised and cursed, but even her critics had to acknowledge her experience and knowledge when it came to Native American first foods and how to cultivate them in the wild.
She spent about three decades in the western United States, much of it on horseback, getting to know these special plants and their ecosystems. Though of Irish background herself, she had been taught by Shoshone grandmothers in her youth.
She often spoke of “the Hoop,” which is an ancient migratory tradition of food gathering and cultivation that sustained Native Americans – and the land itself – in good health for thousands of years until it was violently disrupted by the European Invasion. The Hoop is not dead but is severely threatened, and Fin played an important role in not letting it die yet.
Unafraid of controversy and passionate to the core, she offended many. I myself was on her blacklist once but I didn’t take it personally. What else can you expect from such a feral creature, so thoroughly discontented with civilization? After all, when we respect what we call “tact,” we usually end up being silent about our collective crimes: genocide, ecocide, etc. Some people were offended by her verbal crudity, but her fierce advocacy for wildtending was not only appropriate but vitally essential.
Please note that “Tranny Granny” is a term of affection, not a slur, having been bestowed upon her by some of the “Radical Faeries.” Fin underwent sex-reassignment surgery (as it was then known) to transition from male to female in her younger days, before being introduced to the Hoop. The Radical Faeries are a queer movement dating from the 70’s who have been variously described as neo-Pagan, counter-cultural, anti-establishment, anarchist and radically environmentalist and their nickname for her carries no malice.
This presentation is not intended to be an exhaustive account of Finisia and her work. Nor did I attempt to interview a set of people who would provide a, quote, “balanced” view. That is, I did not talk to any of her haters. But none of these people were blind to her characteristics and the picture that emerges here can certainly not be described as “fawning.” And you know what? Fin – or Granny, as she always was to me – wouldn’t have respected a suck-up job either.
This episode is structured around a set of six questions that I asked each interviewee. They are:
- How did you meet Fin?
- How would you describe Fin to someone who never met her?
- What did Fin do? / What was Fin’s work about?
- Describe a time you experienced friction or tension with Fin
- Can you sum up Fin’s message to the world?
- Do you have a memory of the last time you saw her / communicated with her?
The interviewees are: Gabe Crawford, Joanna Pocock, Joshua Dodds, Nikki Hill, Rain
“Postcard From Eastern Oregon: When planting food is illegal” (in which I tell my story of meeting Granny)