Allison, thank you for your big-hearted and thoughtful response.
Michelle Johnson
11

What does it mean to ‘show up’ for someone else?

What I’m curious about now is what does it mean to “show up” for someone else? Is it marching, protesting, going to a lecture, standing up for others? Or is it simply being kind, meeting people in our communities, making those communities more connected?

Well, I think it’s all of that, really. And when it comes to showing up for severely marginalised people, from a position of privilege, I want to emphasise standing up for others.

I’ll co-opt this:

If you see something, say something.

It is not enough for a privileged person to be kind and inclusive. In a society where bullying, assault, and exclusion are increasingly condoned, those being bullied cannot defend themselves — we are outnumbered, we simply cannot do it — it is up to those with power to step in and defend us.

Please stand up for us.

There is currently a resurgence of hate in the West. People who are non-white, non-male, non-straight, and non-cisgender are coming under increased pressure and even outright attack. Immigrants, people of colour, sexual minorities, women, are being subjected to direct attempts at further marginalisation. In all of that, trans women have become special targets — we are very few, very isolated, very hated, and those of us who are identifiable are at extreme risk, in every way imaginable.

This is a critical time, and we — all marginalised people — desperately need those with privilege and power to push back:

  • If you hear a slur or a ‘joke’, object, aloud.
  • If you discover a bigoted policy, object, write, phone.
  • If you see abuse, step in, stop it;
  • If you can’t stop it, video it, copy it, report it, post it.
  • If others are standing mute, push them. Say, hey — you!
‘This is not fucking OK.’
For me…as a full-time parent…the biggest way I can “show up” is by raising conscientious, respectful children. I feel like that isn’t seen as “doing enough,” but it’s doing something, and it’s important.

In the long game, this is, of course, the important thing, right?

I cannot think of any more important way you can show up. You will be challenged. They will come home with stuff that will leave you nonplussed and at a loss for what to say, how to correct, how to scold or teach. You’ve got a tough job; I know, I feel for you, I had the same job once. It’s worth it.

This is the most important work you could possibly do.

Would you weigh in on this please, Allison?

Done. :-) And Michelle, thank you so very much for asking. ❤

…I want to show up for you. Thank you…for your response, it’s made a big impact on me.

And I’m going to repeat that back to you, word-for-word, with all my heart: I want to show up for you, Michelle; thank you for your response, it’s made a big impact on me. Thank you for hearing me.

❤ Allison