I apologize for the lateness on this one. On Friday I was not in my room/around a computer for a good portion of the day and Saturday it was pretty much the same thing. As a graduating senior it’s hard to accept that I actually will have to leave the place I’ve grown to love so much.
On Saturday I was one of the seniors recognized at Lavender Graduation-a ceremony and celebration of LGBTIQ identified, LGBTIQ Allied, or Sexuality Studies minor undergraduates, graduate, and professional students who graduated in December 2006 or will graduate in May.
Our speaker was Mandy Carter, a life long activist for women’s and queer rights and peace. She helped found Southerners on New Ground (SONG)–an organization devoted to advancing the education on les-gay-bi-trans issues as well as multi-racial and multi-issue. She has been named one of the most powerful ‘out’ women in the South by Curve magazine and was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize as part of the 1000 Women For Peace nominations.
A few of the things she said were important for everyone to remember.
People are constantly telling us that one person cannot make a difference. Take for example the belief for the candidate Dennis Kucinich. Watch an interview with him and you’ll see that he is passionate on what he believes and really wants to change things. Those who like and respect him for that can only shake their heads and say, “It’s too bad there’s no chance for him.”
Carter would ask of this kind of attitude–so maybe not everyone will think the way you do, but what about doing something that is right? The most important thing that any of us can do as thinkers and as activists is do what is right, even if that means we’re up against the rest of the world when we do it.
In addition, we have to remember that in our pursuits of changing peoples hearts and minds on our issues (be they feminism or les-gay-bi-trans issues), we can’t forget about the importance of policy change.
As she noted–if it wasn’t for the Brown v. Board of Education ruling, the diversity found in the room yesterday would probably not have been possible. It’s important to have that political knowledge that can advance our causes and the history that goes along with it.
In addition to Carter’s words, we have to remember that as feminists we have to do more than think about the issues that concern us–sexism, racism, homophobia, etc–but we have to do something about it. For those of us blogging about these issues, it’s definitely a step in the right direction! It’s a wonderful way to start the discussions that matter.
Of course blogs are by no means enough. We have to live what we think. If we believe that no woman should be punished because she doesn’t look like the models in Cosmo and Vogue, then we have to forgive ourselves for not looking like that (of course this is easier said than done, because once again we are pretty much challenging the entire rest of the world… and that’s a lot of pressure). I might also suggest that whenever you come by one of these magazines, tear out the subscription card, write something like “FEED YOUR MODELS!” and send it back to the magazine. It costs them 15 cents for every card sent back. (idea from Bitchfest)
Check your local alternative weekly if you don’t already know what organizations are operating in your area that support the issues you care about and put your support behind them.
If your claim to fame is in writing, keep up with your local publications and if they say anything that is derogatory, racist, sexist–call them out on it with a letter to the editor!
Transcend the “I am a feminist” statement.