He said to me “I understand why you feel so passionate about it. I just don’t see why you need to disrupt traffic and people’s lives when they can’t do anything to help“.
Yeah we’re no longer dating.
It has only been in the last year that I’ve started marching. For Safe Schools. For Equal Marriage. For women’s health. Against Slut-Shaming. Against incumbent political bigots. And today, for Pride. Because having a face that stops traffic isn’t enough for me. And because the rhetoric still exists – both inside and outside of the LGBTI cohort – that seeks to discredit and disavow the rights to be seen, inspire, develop as a community. Hopefully it will be peaceful. Hopefully it will be impactful. The power of civic disruption cannot be underestimated.
It continues to perturb me that privileged communities are as adamant as ever to promote the systems used to oppress the underprivileged as scapegoat-solutions to the problems their bias and supremacy provides. The homeless need to go get jobs, Indigenous people need to stay in school, gay people should respect religious freedoms to discriminate against them. These tools of discourse are as harmful now as ever, but now we have begun to win skirmishes of identity, welfare, healthcare, we are faced with smears of ‘ingratitude’ for what concessions have been made by the benevolence of the racial/socioeconomic/gender lottery winners. But for those of you who believe educating children in prejudice by omitting the place of underprivileged communities in curriculum content somehow relinquishes responsibility for violence in schoolyards, attrition, intellectual poverty and classism? We see through you, and march for you.
For those of you who allow your ignorance to inform you, basing your distinctions and judgements on what you’ve been told and not what you’ve experienced, and heeding only the advice of your peers without undergoing any real investigation of perspectives? We see through you, and march for you.
For those of you who are too caught up in your own routines to be concerned with the public and unprocessed, yet not technically prohibited, slaughter of humans, whether by government, spiritual dogma, personal vendetta, or domestic discord? We see through you, and march for you.
For those of you who believe that because they’re not gay, there’s no point in being involved? We see through you, and march for you. We march for the day your niece comes out, we march for the day your husband does finally crack, we march for the day you get diagnosed with HIV, we march for the day your health insurance won’t cover a hate crime, we march for the day you can’t afford tampons, we march for the day your son takes his life for being a victim of homophobia, we march for the day you’re locked up in an airport because your immigration status changes mid-flight, we march for the day you can’t bring your husband’s ashes home, we march for the day your child is barred from enrolling in a school because of their gender, we march for the day your best friend starts treatment for PTSD after being raped at uni and she never told anyone, we march for the day they being conscription back, we march for the day the reef dies along with all the fish who live there, we march for the day we all realise feudalism has mastered a democratic disguise.
There is no shame in discomfort. But there is in distraction. You cannot guarantee the outcome of the choices we’re being gaslighted, mass-media-manipulated, coerced at gunpoint (literal and figurative) to make. But you can guarantee that you fight at every post, writing letters, attending rallies, taking video, participating peacefully, infiltrating the systems themselves if you are smart and shrewd enough, engaging in discussion, activating others openly.
March before you’re made to.