The Women’s March in Los Angeles was the one of hundreds of other marches around the world to protest U.S. President Donald Trump and the GOP’s stance on women’s issues. I attended the march. As a former grassroots organizer, I love when people step out of their self-centric worlds to join the collective. I love being on the front line of social justice issues, from the Equality Ride and Right to Marry Campaigns to Occupy Los Angeles and Prop 8 protests, I love being there. While I aimed to be at this rally, for the very reasons that I am certain we will take care of each other, is the same reasons I knew I could sit it out if I wanted to. I felt, for the first time, as an observer and less as a participant at the march. Here are three things I observed:
- We need a new word for feminism. Yes, biological females have different body parts than biological males, but this is less about anatomy as it is about gender roles. We need a new reference for women’s rights that isn’t abortion-centric as our trans-sisters are some of the most potent voices available due to their inherent place on society’s fringe.We need a new word that incites contemplation for those who oppose women’s rights. Feminism is already co-opted. Let them keep it; it’s a word, anyway, that is not well-worn by any women trying to change the hearts and minds of any so-called non-feminist. For that, I see myself as a gay man threatened by anti-feminist attitudes. I didn’t march because I am a so-called feminist (though women are awesome!), I marched because I understood the value in supporting others who are relegated and restricted.
2. Marches centered on women’s issues were some of the most polite marches I’d ever been in. Thank you for not pushing me and allowing me to get off at my train stop smoothly! Gotta love the thousands of moms looking out for others.
3. If you don’t understand intersectionality, then the marches just appear to be a group of people wanting to hit the streets. If you don’t understand intersectionality as a human rights activist, then you don’t understand human rights.
4. In a 1st world country, marches are symbolic at best. Non-violence is a tool that is required to make the ultimate change. The marches were a mass and public venting process (which is totally valid and necessary), it’s aim was to connect us with like-minded individuals and display our love for each other. The next phase to truly change the world (and the reason this all feels like a broken record) is to extend that non-violence to those who oppose us.
To begin, we have to recognize where we left off and what we left out. It is a matter not of numbers, force or dint of labor, but of heart.