I am one of the marginalised women who did not join in…
Allison Washington
51

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

Your words bring to mind a conversation I had with an esteemed teacher of mine back in 2004. I had just gotten engaged to my future husband, and I said to her, “I feel like it’s not fair that we should be able to get married but our gay friends can’t. I’m thinking I should ask our wedding guests to make a donation towards supporting same-sex marriage.” (← that’s what we called it back then, it wasn’t just “marriage” yet ;)

My teacher, a lesbian and equal rights activist said to me, “No, you don’t have to do that. You don’t have to ‘do’ anything. You make your marriage ‘be’ about equality.”

She also went on to say that there are many different kinds of privilege: white privilege, straight privilege, male privilege, living in a wealthy nation privilege… She said we don’t have to feel guilty about that privilege — it’s OK to have privilege.

What’s NOT OK is that other people don’t.

To me, fighting for equality means fighting to get closer and closer to a world where we all have equal privilege. Where we’re respected and honored for our differences, and those differences don’t determine what rights we have.

Right now I’m striving to make my life ‘be’ about equality. To live lovingly from that place, and to notice where I can make a difference (and where I’m failing).

And yes, I think you are right, sharing our stories is a big part of that.

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? For me right now as a full-time parent to two very young kids, 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.

Would you weigh in on this please, Allison? Because yes, I want to show up for you.

Thank you again for your response, it’s made a big impact on me.

Love to you,

Michelle

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