This is a time when our nation is ripe. Art and media are important for telling stories that teach us things, but we must learn the lessons. It’s time to stop reading about revolutions in books like the Hunger Games. Watching Star Wars doesn’t make you a member of the resistance.
Things are changing.
But they won’t change unless we make real actions. Call your elected officials; send emails; tweet. Vote in local elections and meet your representatives. Protest and start conversation. This morning I woke up and didn’t feel like doing anything but staying in bed. The Women’s March on Washington sister event in Kansas City was today, but after a long, emotionally draining and restless week, I was tired. Then I realized that if I didn’t go to the march and be a part of the change, I would regret it. This was the kind of event that I’ve often looked at in history books and wished I could be a part of.
I assessed my spoons, came to the conclusion that I had the right ones, and went. Not everyone who wanted to march was able, whether for reasons of mental health, handicap, personal safety, jobs, distance, or transportation. If you wanted to go to a march and couldn’t, I went for you because I have the privilege to be able to. Do not feel ashamed because something you couldn’t help got in your way.
After contemplating what to write, I made a sign that says “refuse to be deleted,” with the bisexual flag colors, in reference to the lgbt and civil rights pages being deleted from the White House website. Bi and other non-monosexuality erasure makes us feel invisible and invalid, and this action was exemplary of the whitewashing of minorities that has happened throughout history. I only had one piece of cardstock, so I chose an issue that I and many of my closest friends deal with on a daily basis. There were other issues that I wanted represented, and was so glad to see signs for every single one of them. There were also signs that I didn’t agree with, such as ones with cissexist messages implying that genitalia makes someone a woman. But even still, the energy of the day was brilliantly positive. There was diverse representation of all manner of religions, skin tones, nationalities, genders, sexualities, ages, abilities, economic statuses, and everything in between. The organizers and speakers were proactive about avoiding the white-feminism that drowns out the voices of minorities; most of the speakers were queer or people of color.
Feminism isn’t just for females.
Feminism is the idea that femininity is valuable and equal. It isn’t just for people who identify as femme, but the idea that men and masculine people can exhibit and enjoy feminine things. This means supporting all people and destroying the binary mentality of one or the other. Coming up with a new term or calling it “egalitarianism” to get rid of the association with white-feminism is disrespectful to history. These marches have been going on for over a hundred years, and though they’ve been flawed, have a rich history of making the world a better place. Signs held by older women that said things like “Why am I still protesting this?” and “I’ve been there, and I don’t want to go back” punctuate this.
The organizers expected between 500 and 1,000 people to come to this event. Instead Kansas City showed up with at least 10,000. I walked past the park where the rally was held after everyone had left, and found it cleaner than I’ve ever seen in this city. The marchers were peaceful and respectful to one humans and property alike. I’ve heard some people say this wasn’t a protest it was a march, but I think that devalues and delegitimizes protests. This was a protest. It was also a rally. It was a city and a nation and a world coming together to say we are tired of being treated this way and we are ready for change.
I am a woman. I am bisexual. I am mentally ill. I am a survivor. I am a young person. I am an ally. I am also flawed and privileged. I am many more things, and I refuse to be silent.