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About the idea of the safety pin

I don’t wear a pin because I’ve never been able to sit down and shut up when someone’s being an asshole to someone around me, and people have always been comfortable asking me for help or accepting help when offered, so it doesn’t feel necessary (also my hair is purple and blue and very festive, and most people don’t look at me and assume I’m excessively conservative. My bumper stickers are also pretty freakin’ obvious already.)

But I’ve seen the pin as a way of saying to marginalized people, “I’m here, I see you, I value you. You’re important and I’m on your side, and I want to help if you need it.”

My perspective is that of a white person who has grown up with a fair amount of privilege, and I can understand the hesitation when so many people say, “Of course I’m not racist” and then turn around and do racist things.

It feels too easy, on some levels, but on other levels it feels like it would be useful to have a shorthand.

The longhand for me, would be this:

Civil rights are not negotiable.

I did not vote for Trump.

Black lives matter. So much. And we owe Black culture and Black people so much for so many of the best things in our lives.

Native peoples were here first, and harassing people for being “illegal aliens” because they “look like Mexicans” is horrific, wrongheaded, and supremely hypocritical, since most of the people yelling about Mexicans are people whose families came from somewhere else a lot later. The ONGOING and CURRENT theft of native lands and oppression of native peoples is obscene.

LGBTQIA+ people are human beings who just want to live and love and their lives and their loves do not hurt anyone and anyone who says they do is probably not anyone I want to have anything to do with ever. People who turn away from their family members who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, pan, queer, demi, asexual, nonbinary or other marginalized gender identity and sexuality are playing with fire. Parents who reject their trans kids are flipping a coin about whether or not their children will attempt suicide.

Freedom of religion doesn’t just mean “Freedom to be Christian.” There’s a reason the establishment clause is Rule Number One. And I’m a hell of a lot more scared of fundamentalist Christians waving guns and yelling that I’m going to hell than I am of someone in a headscarf praying. I’ve be threatened by many Christians to my face. I’ve never even had a single Muslim person be rude to me. AND despite having many threats to my person from Christian people… I still don’t blame Christianity. There’s some really neat stuff in the gospels. The story of Jesus is amazing and the gospels contain so much wisdom about how we should love each other and be kind to each other and how we should treat people who are different from us.

Sexism exists, and it hurts, and it nearly broke me. I am a survivor. I will never, ever be silent about this again.

The gender binary is ridiculous and should be burned to the ground. Let people wear clothes. Let them make their bodies look the way they want them to look. Let kids play how they want to play and learn what they’re interested in and stop making assumptions about what people are good at or who they are based on what you think is between their legs. What’s between anyone’s legs is their own business, might be relevant to their doctor or their lover and otherwise? Is not important.

Disregarding, underserving and neglecting people with disabilities is not only cruel, but short-sighted. Some of the most amazing leaps forward have been made by people who would probably have an autism diagnosis today. If the world needs saving, the chances are that the people who do the saving are not going to be “perfect conformists”. Even for people who won’t save the world by being savants, taking good care of them and providing them with opportunities to be happy is the right, humane, moral thing to do, and the payback in increased productivity for family members, in jobs provided to people doing the caring, in children who grow up loved and happy and don’t end up in the criminal justice system… this is not money-down-the-drain. It all comes back and it all helps.

We are better off having a wide variety of people, beliefs, skills, and cultures. Our diversity is why we thrive. We need people who are different, we need cultures that are different, we need everyone.

Civil rights are not negotiable.
We don’t treat people that way. We don’t let our friends treat people that way. We don’t allow others to be treated that way.

Anyway. That’s the long version for me.

Published in Feminism Gender and Sexuality LIfe Political

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