What Do You Stand For?
Someone posed this question on Tumblr a while back, and it got me thinking.
What do I stand for?
I’ve been mulling it over and have come up with a working list of things that I feel are at the core of my being.
I stand for solidarity with all oppressed people–women, people of color, trans people, gay people, disabled people, and so on. I stand for reaching out with love and strength to those who struggle alongside me against the kyriarchy. I acknowledge that all oppressions are inextricably linked to each other, and to be willing to dismantle the oppression I struggle with means being willing to dismantle the forms of oppression that I do not experience as a white, able-bodied, middle-class person in America. Accordingly, it is my responsibility to educate myself on various forms of oppression that I do not directly experience (racism, ableism, transmisogyny etc), and it is my responsibility to remain mindful, at all times, of intersectionality.
As far as I’m concerned, accountability goes hand in with solidarity. For me, a commitment to accountability, in this respect, is a commitment to being accountable for my privileges. It is to be accountable for my white privilege, my class privilege, and my able-bodied privilege. It is to be open to being called out on any of these privileges (or others I’m less aware of) by members of oppressed groups. I cannot promise that I will be perfect when called out, but I can say that I am fully committed to reacting with love and listening rather than defensiveness and denial.
In an interpersonal context, I am also committed to being accountable for my actions. Whether with friends or lovers, I am committed to listening to their concerns and evaluating my words and actions and apologizing for them when necessary.
However, this is also a commitment to be accountable to myself. And while I am making a commitment to be open to listening to others’ critiques of my actions and my words, I am also making a commitment to being aware of this form of critique being used as a form of manipulation (such as when my father chastises me for having short hair/presenting butch because it’s “extremely off-putting). In being accountable to myself, I am committed to reminding myself that I have no responsibility to continue conversations or relationships with people who are being manipulative. I have the right to disengage for my own mental health, and I will exercise it.
Practicing Consent and Respecting Boundaries
This is, and always will be, paramount in my sex life and in other parts of my life. I am committed to always, always, always putting consent first when it comes to sexual experiences, regardless of who they are with. If someone seems uncomfortable when I initiate something sexual, it is my responsibility to step back and check in and make sure that everything’s alright. And if my prospective lover changes their mind or expresses discomfort, it is my responsibility to back the fuck off right then and there.
Pursuit of Knowledge
I never want to stop learning, academically and otherwise.
I know that there are plenty of other things I stand for, but those are the most prominent in my mind right now. I imagine I will add to this list as I think of other things.
What do you stand for?