Dear Cis Men,
I am tired of your complacency. I am tired of the violence you contribute to. I am tired of you basking in your male privilege. I am fucking tired.
I know what you’re thinking and let me go ahead stop you there. Yes, I’m talking to you. Yes, I mean all cis men. You may be an activist. You may speak out against X, Y, or Z injustice. You may post a sympathetic article on Facebook or Twitter with a trending hashtag. You may have another identity that makes you an minority. You may go to a conference to listen and learn. You may donate to a worthy activist organisation. You may go to rallies and marches and have your voice heard.
But you are still fallible. You still contribute the violent cispatriarchy. You still benefit from that very system of violence that has caused:
- Seven trans women of colour to be murdered in the United States thus far in 2017
- 1 and 3 (cis) women worldwide to experience sexual and/or intimate partner violence in their lifetime (likely high rates for trans folks, but not enough data to say definitively)
- 40% of homeless youth to be LGBTQ
- 41% of transgender people to attempt suicide
- 9 in 10 LGBTQ teens to be bullied
- Trans women to be 49 times more likely to be HIV+ than the general population
- And countless other forms of systemic, daily violence
I know it’s uncomfortable to hear, but your existence as a cis man means you benefit from violence against women and trans people. That’s how privilege and oppression works.
It’s comfy up on your perch of cis masculinity and I know you probably don’t want to come down. But in order for justice to be achieved, you have got to come down and help us destroy that perch. And that means being uncomfortable. That means becoming defiant against every day forms of violence that you witness and contribute to. That means stepping up without stepping over the rest of us.
It’s more than a like or a hashtag. It’s more than sharing an article or showing up. It’s more than having a conversation or convincing others. It’s changing your daily actions and habits that stem from places of entitlement and privilege. It’s learning not how to use your privilege for good but how to give up that privilege in an effort to completely overhaul the cistem.
Now, I’m not asking for perfection. We’re all going to fuck up, myself included. But I am holding you to a higher expectation because you are the ones with a respected and privileged voice in this world. While the oppressed should be leading and driving the movements, you need to be there actively supporting that work (financially and otherwise) and making sure people fucking listen.
I'm tired of the violence. I'm tired of fighting for my right to simply exist. I'm fucking tired. Please, step up. I'm tired of waiting.