Tag Archives: action

I Hate Allies

Or at least, most self-proclaimed allies…from a trans* perspective.

Ally is not a title you claim. Being an ally is an action. Being an ally is something you do, always. It is not a label, as much as it is an action of supporting a community. You do not simply get to make a statement and leave it at that. Being an ally is something that is given to you by the group that you are claiming allyship with. It is not a badge. It is not a get out free card. It does not prevent you from being problematic, incorrect, or an issue. An LGBT ally can still be homophobic, biphobic, or trans*phobic. An ally’s place is to listen and learn, while amplifying the voices of the group they are aligned with. An ally is to never speak for, above, or against, the group they are an ally for.

Being an ally is not something you should expect praise for. Being an ally is about working towards the greater good for all involved and helping a group of people be heard with their struggles. This is an action. Being an ally, once again, is not a badge to be worn and flashed about. Being an ally should be a thankless job, because being an ally means being a decent human being. While being an ally is not seen as the norm, this is how it should be treated. Allyship should be seen as the norm, since being an ally is about respecting humans and granting basic human rights, privileges, and dignities. Being an ally is a collaborative effort between the ally and the group they ally is allied with.

One should not expect to come into this expecting praise. An ally should be humble. An ally should be steadfast. This means that if an ally is called out for problematic behavior, they listen and learn. They do not become defensive because becoming defensive means you believe your words to be correct. Allyship is not meant to be a token to be given and taken either due to personal issues within the community. If there is an issue, the threat should not be that you are an ally and thus, “on our side”. There should be an apology and a learning experience. Humans, by nature, are imperfect beings and even the most supportive ally is prone to problematic behavior. Allies, by their very nature, are not part of the community they are supporting and thus, will never truly understand the experiences of the people they are supposed to be supporting.

Continue reading I Hate Allies

Our Lives: Rebellion

This first appeared in Permanent Wave Philly‘s zine entitled Tiny Acts of Rebellion. Currently the full zine is not available for download, but when it is, I will link it.

Every day I wake up is a small act of rebellion. Every day I walk out the door is a small act of rebellion. Everything I say is a small act of rebellion. My mere existence is a rebellion. For years, and even now, people have told me to shut up. People have told me to kill myself. People have told me that I should disappear. People have told me I don’t exist. Despite these things people has told me many times over, I am still around. I am still alive and louder than ever.

This is not something unique to me either. Every queer person alive is an act of rebellion. Our mere will to live is a rebellion against a society that tells us we are not worthy. It is a rebellion against the cissexist and homophobic world we live in. Queer people rebel with every breath they take. Merely being alive and refusing to let society snuff us out is an act of rebellion.  In the words of Kanye West, “jokes on you, we still alive”.

Those queer people who do not live their lives as out and proud people are still rebelling. Those trans* people who live in stealth are still alive. Queer people are anywhere from four times to eight times more likely to have tried to commit suicide. Almost half of trans* people have tried. Those of us who are still here, breathing in the same air as our oppressors, are acts of rebellion.  We go against the very grain of what society expects of us. By refusing to fit into the perfect square cages, we are rebelling and we are winning.

In a way, these acts, one totaled, are not so tiny. These acts of rebellion are huge. An ocean of it, releasing wave upon wave of change, no matter how small. Rebellion does not have to be loud. It does not have to be angry, nor does it have to be passive. Rebellion has to demand change. Rebellion has to demand its rightful place. By living, we are demanding change and asserting our rightful place. As queer people, we are showing ourselves to the world. We are bearing out hearts in our existence and our lives. Every step we take is in the right direction, there is no backwards in life, just forward. Onward.