The women’s marches happening all over the world are, in a word, inspiring. They, personally, give me hope that America has the potential to get on the right track, since its citizens have the power to protest a government that they feel is not acting in their best interest.
This, truly, is what makes America great.
We do live in a democracy, though, which, by definition, gives that power to the majority. Cisgender, straight white women are the majority in these protests.
Of course, cis white women have plenty to protest. Restrictions on reproductive rights and health care, domestic violence, sexual assault – these are all extremely important.
Go ahead, slap a picture of a vagina on a t-shirt. I’m with you, girl.
However, as cisgender women, we need to remember that there are women who don’t have vaginas, and there are men with vaginas. We live in a transphobic society.
This goes beyond the right to use bathrooms. In 2016 alone, according to Advocate, 26 transgender people were murdered, making it the deadliest year to be a trans person.
Most of them were trans women.
Most of them were trans women of color.
In addition, the “Gay Panic” and “Trans Panic” defenses are still only banned in California – this means that a murderer has the right to claim that a person’s sexual orientation or transgender status caused them to go temporarily insane, thus “causing” the murder.
This is the reality for trans people.
Racism had a fire lit under it in 2016. Islamophobia and xenophobia are running rampant.
Muslim women are having their hijabs ripped from their heads by angry Islamophobes. They are being verbally harassed for exercising their freedom of expression and religion.
Hispanic and Latina women are being taunted and threatened, told to “go back to their country,” and face the threat of deportation and discrimination.
Remember that we as white women can not possibly understand the experience of being a black woman or woman of color. Remember that there are a lot of racist white women.
A lot of racist white feminists.
What I’m saying is, cis/straight white women need feminism, but need to stand up for other women as well. Use your privilege. Trans women, gay women, black women, Islamic women and Latina women need our help, and, as women, as feminists, it is our responsibility to be inclusive.
Educate yourself about the plights of other oppressed groups.
All of it is connected.
Listen to them.
That is your duty as an activist.