On Being A Feminist, A Trans/Queer-Rights Advocate And An Atheist/Skeptic At The Same
Source: http://freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed/...ds-allies/

Quote:When the fight takes me to defending the rights of women, I will first be a feminist. When the fight takes me to defending the rights of trans people, I will first be a trans-rights advocate. When the fight takes me to opposing dogma and faith and religious power or privilege, I will be an atheist. When the fight takes me to encouraging questioning and critical thought and challenging assumptions, I will be a skeptic.

So when I find myself in a thread on an atheist blog where an atheist is being a transphobic asshole? In that moment, we don’t share a movement, we aren’t on the same team, I don’t need to be ashamed of your actions, I don’t need to give you special deference as an ally, and I don’t need to feel like giving up on it. In that moment, I am a trans woman. And I am pissed off.

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In this video, Greta Christina explains why any rights advocacy is too important to be left to a handful of rights advocates, and how it has indeed become second nature to community members at large, in several instances in the past.

Quote:...It's especially important for a good amount of the talking on gender to be done by men and a good amount of the talking on race to be done by white people. And I want to give an example here of how and why this works and this is a very positive example, something I think the atheist movement has been doing very, very well. One of the first things that my wife Ingrid and I noticed, when we started hanging out in the atheist blogosphere, was that on the rare occasions when somebody in a comment-thread would say something stupid or bigoted about gay people...straight people would all be automatically be all over them, in droves. We, me and Ingrid and other LGBT people in the atheist blogs, didn't always have to be the ones speaking out about homophobia. We didn't usually have to be the ones speaking out about homophobia. We could sit back and watch straight people do it. And that was amazing. That was so important that I cannot even begin to tell you. That is probably a central part of why I am so invested in the atheist movement, why I feel so comfortable here.
[archiving from a facebook post]

If you are new to feminism and deep in a discussion where you are in disagreement with the feminist-pros: just shut up and listen.

The above statement is strong, especially when as freethinkers we are encouraged to cultivate a skeptical attitude. But "listen" doesn't mean "accept without skepticism" and it most certainly doesn't mean plainly accept the authority. Point to note is that skepticism doesn't imply "the moment something doesn't seem correct we start raising uninformed objections and making premature conclusions". Its like trying to discard theory of relativity using paradoxes even before properly understanding it. Key to understand a complicated theory like theory of relativity is to be patient and understand how all the pieces fit and then start tackling the paradoxes. It would require more than normal amount of patience because its counterintuitive. Very similarly we might have fur[1] and find it difficult to understand matters pertaining to privelege. Hence we need to give it more time and attention to understand the feminist stance before we raise our objections.

But why is it so important to shut up?
Apart from the obvious reason that we cannot be speaking and listening/understanding at the same time (true even for social network discussions), the other reason is: it is easy to offend others when its about typical feminist topics of discussion (e.g. rape). The topics are normally very sensitive and our unintentional naive comments can actually make others very uncomfortable. The complicated part is that a newbie won't even understand why his/her comments might be troubling to others. So safest way would be "shut up and listen".

http://finallyfeminism101.wordpress.com/ is a very good resource for educating yourself on feminism basics.

[1] https://sindeloke.wordpress.com/2010/01/13/37/
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