With the celebrations of the last few days, it’s easy to forget that there is still a giant, treacherous mountain in front of us when it comes to equality for all.
While Friday’s ruling for same sex marriage is a giant win in a long and tiring fight for equal rights, there are still big fights to fight:
Whether I am legally married or not, the rainbow flag of LGBTQ equality will never shield my black body from a reckless police officer’s bullet. I cannot summon enough pride to prevent my black, gay body from being the target of white racial supremacy. I cannot selectively choose which fight I can show up for, because mere survival requires me to fight for racial, sexual, gender, economic and social justice at once.
I slightly disagree with the below – I think even with the passiveness of the ‘slacktavist’, clicking a button to change their profile showing their support and celebrating what is a major win for equality spreads awareness and acceptance – however, I think it’s important to point out that this can’t be seen as the end point of our fight, merely another tick on a long list of changes that must happen in our society.
LGBTQ celebration should not overshadow the tragedy of black death and inequity. Not while white LGBTQ people refuse to confront the anti-black racism within their liberal communities. Not while marriage equality work can amass more money than programming for trans women of color and LGBTQ youth. Not while undocumented LGBTQ people continue to be detained and abused by the state. Not while I must daily argue for the mattering of black lives.
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It is always disappointing when an opportunity to have a positive influence on how we perceive and condemn violence against women turns into another conversation of how women are the ones that need to change their actions if they want to avoid being assaulted by men. This is what happened in a Q&A episode this week with a panel discussing Floyd Mayweather’s history of domestic violence.
When it comes to questioning the ways we talk about more complex forms of male violence against women, and the way our society responds to it, we just can’t get past the victim blaming mentality that accepts male violence against women as a ‘fact of life’ that women must navigate rather than society eradicate.
When a man is assaulted, men are not told to avoid walking the streets alone, because that would be ridiculous. Women, on the other hand, are consistently given this directive after violent incidents – even when the victim is attacked in broad daylight. It might not sound like “blame”, but implicitly, it is. It comes from the assumption that the streets are not women’s territory, and we don’t have the same right to walk them in safety as men do. We are expected to keep ourselves safe, because of an assumption that the dangers facing us are unavoidable except if we take extraordinary measures of our own to avoid them.
One of the best Twitter responses to the Q&A episode was Kon Karapanagiotidis:
Dear #qanda don’t discuss violence women ever again unless every sentence starts with either
“Men need to change
Come on Q&A, do better.
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