I wrote this post late last year and feel it is so relevant to recognise the women in our lives everyday. International Women’s Day 2019 seems an appropriate time to share it again, to remind ourselves that Women’s Rights matter and gender equality still has much progress to make.. (Link below)
Yesterday I was at the annual Pride march in Melbourne. It was a baking hot 39c with a clear blue sky. The commencement of the march had been shifted from the previously scheduled 2pm to an earlier 11am, in order to give people a chance to escape the worst of the heat. In true Melbourne style the crowds came out (oops, no pun intended!). I witnessed people cramming onto trains and trams to arrive in good time to situate themselves in a shady aspect along Melbourne’s iconic Fitzroy Street in the heart of St Kilda. The crowd was a sea of colour; rainbow socks, frocks and sparkly pairs of jocks. Braces and bow ties, hats, capes and umbrellas for protection against the harsh summer sun. Feathers and bubbles with a side of sequins for good measure. Glittered beards. If a person is ever feeling like the lone gay in the village, all they need do is find themselves along Fitzroy Street on Pride day, where they will be enveloped in the enormous crowd that is Melbourne’s LGBTQI+ community.
I had been feeling especially this way, living out of the city, where metropolitan living and rural zones merge. Life here, whilst being incredibly rich for my soul in so many ways, is particularly bland (non existent even?) in anything resembling rainbow visibility. I love Melbourne’s diversity and vibrant, eclectic mix of cultural groups. For me, it is what makes Melbourne home. I feel fortunate to be within easy travelling distance of the city and my heart goes out for members of the LGBTQI+ community who live in remote areas where traveling down for the day is not an option.
Over the weekend a friend and I were talking about queer visibility in country towns and how important this is for people who identity as LGBTQI+, wherever they find themselves along the rainbow. For me, it all comes down to feeling a sense of belonging to my tribe, which is why events like Pride are so powerful for reconciling who we are when times are tough. It is about a sense of belonging, acceptance and zero judgement to be the person who is continually rising within. It is about authenticity and supporting my community. Empowerment. Giving back where I once received. Recognising that we are all so uniquely different and that is the richness of our identities. Sharing this and celebrating it however we choose. Carving a greater space for Rainbow Pride within communities across our country. It is about people connecting with one another and sharing who they are.
Of ancient origin.
Humans are social creatures and need to feel this sense of belonging. It is fundamental to our sense of self. Connection lies in the core of humanity.
I feel blessed to be slowly finding my tribe.
Travelling back from an event last night, my friend behind the wheel, the conversation veered to more personal matters. Feeling the need to share I started telling her about an assignment I had been working on for an introductory sociology class I am taking.
Through this task I have unraveled and peeled back the layers of my life through a theoretical lens, finding where certain twists and turns fit. It has caused me to go deep. Really deep. As in….”where would I be now had I not led such a sheltered childhood? Were the influences from my family and community so strong that they shaped a good chunk of my life? And most noteworthy..the slow realization that my movements through certain times in my life were made from choices, yet the external factors those choices were made in were not of my choosing.” Those external factors were largely embedded in the dominant masculine discourse that is our society.
I likened my thoughts to a pinball machine, designed to allow passage for only certain sized or shaped balls, through to achievement/success. Depending on the size of one’s ball (themselves) they may be granted or denied passage through no other reason than their ethnicity, gender, social class, sexuality, age or disability. Intersectionality. The word at the moment. I admitted I was disheartened to fully understand the impact this had on vulnerable people (I had previously ‘known’ but had not really fully appreciated the deeper meaning and implications it held for people situated within multiple sources of oppression). This coming from a lady loving lady who had fallen down a few rungs on the social class ladder through claiming her identity. How could this be? Yet there are others facing much greater oppression than I. It all seems so unjust.
She very calmly turned to me and said; “It’s ok. You’re having a consciousness-raising.”
Why yes! Yes I am. And it feels empowering, nauseating and motivating all at the same time.
So from this baby feminist on this sunny Sunday: ‘Happy first Birthday to Me.’
Many happy returns (in the form of free passage for all?).
An introduction to intersectionality can be found here
(sweet peas: sweet peace)