Tuesday, November 15, 2016

How to be an ally- (from one marginalized perspective)

I have been thinking a lot about allies and what it means to be an ally. What do we want an ally to do? 

I consider myself an ally for many marginalized groups that I am not a member of. I certainly have considerable privilege. I think the biggest thing is to listen to members of those groups though. See what they think it means for you to be an ally for them. I try to do those in things if/when I am able. And I think it is very ok to not be able to do lots of things for people. It's ok to have limitations. 

Activism can look like using your own platform to amplify marginalized perspectives. It can be as simple as retweeting marginalized voices. I think that is really important. You don't really need to add your own voice. You can simply give them your platform. Because if you are in a position of power, more people respect what you have to say, or what you share, than people respect that marginalized person. Share their Facebook post. Don't add commentary like, "what do you think?" Just share the marginalized perspective. 

Activism can look like listening to marginalized people with an open mind. Be less ready with your reason for why they are wrong. Be more ready to say, "I learn so much from you. Thank you for taking the time to teach me." Don't judge our tone. We are angry for a reason and it may hurt your feelings a bit, but that's ok. It's part of the process. 

Yes communities are wide and diverse and opinions vary. Sometimes it's ok to take a step back and refrain from judgment. I do this a lot. If I am not part of a community, I wait, I listen. But I also think that once a community has spoken, and has a general group consensus, that consensus should be respected and not debated by people outside the community. (It's always ok for people within a community to continue to discuss and evolve.) If a community is not at consensus, it's still not your job to tell that marginalized community member that they are wrong. Their experience and opinion are not wrong.

I hear people all over simply asking to be heard. Listen to us, accept our words as valid. Share our message. That's how you ally. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

As We Grieve~ A Love Letter

The community I love is grieving right now. As a whole, we are angry and hurt and terrified. The reason for this is, of course, the recent American election of Donald Trump. 

We are frightened not only of his policies, but of legitimacy he gives to hateful, bigoted people. I am a disabled queer person who has only embraced my identity in full in the last few years, when it felt safe. Now I face a world that feels immediately less safe overnight. And I know that the world is scarier still for many others. Marginalized people lost Liberty this week. If you think this election is just about "my side lost," then you are too priveliged to feel the real impact. 

But as we grieve, part of what I need to do is to tell my community how much I love you. In a world of hate, I guess I think we need to hear it. I've watched us band together to protest injustice. I've watched us check in on each other and ask if everyone is ok. We offer to help one another, whether that be knitting a cap or making some soup, or talking to each other. 

I love how in this community we are really good at knowing where each other's soft edges are, and caring for those edges. We affirm and reinforce things again and again because it is so desperately needed. We add trigger warnings and content notes to protect each other. We add image descriptions to increase accessibility. I just really love the way we look out for each other. 

So right now I am grieving. I am terrified I am angry that there is enough hate in America that this really could happen. But I am glad I am not facing that alone. Disabled people and other marginalized people are supporting each other through this, and for that I am grateful. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Thoughts on trigger warnings, media, and abuse

CN: sexual abuse and childhood sexual abuse, emotional and physical abuse

I have had these thoughts for a while, and I have been in too dark of a place to write about it. It is hard for me to write about, both because it stirs up bad memories that I would rather dissociate from, as well as because I am having a hard time with people that are mostly on my side. 

CN: childhood sexual abuse, abuse
So first I will tell you my story. I don't remember most of my childhood. What I do remember of my p*rents involves a lot of emotional abuse and some physical abuse, as well as some questionable sexual abuse. Then in August I remembered more things, about other people sexually abusing me. I was grabbed in private areas by a family member and then gaslit when he pretended nothing happened. I remember once directly confronting and him directly saying nothing happened. There were other times I said nothing and neither did anyone else say anything.

My brain forgot those things. On purpose. Because I needed to forget. I only remembered *some* of my experiences when it became vital that I remember. 

Then Donald Trump came along and he said awful things because he is a despicable person. I am referring to the Access Hollywood interview here. So.... The thing is yes, he needs to be called out. Of course what he said was not ok! But throwing his words in my face and the faces of those with similar experiences, is also not ok.

I see memes talking about "pussy grabs back." I see political ads that remind us of his words. And the thing is, the people you are defending, you are harming us more. Because it is everywhere, without warning. And this is far too raw for me right now to just be ok with this. 

So yes, vote against this creep! Yes, call out his actions! But add a trigger warning. Remember the people you are defending before posting.