Tag Archives: pro-choice

How to be an Ally

31 Jul

I am a female feminist. I am also white, heterosexual and cis (my gender matches the sex I was assigned at birth), and I recognize the privileges that come with those attributes – not to mention being from a middle-class Canadian family. I strive to be an ally for people of the LQBTQQ community and for people of colour, and navigating the best way to do that can at times be difficult. Michael Urbina wrote a fantastic article titled 101 Everyday Ways for Men to be Allies to Women. I recommend reading the article in its entirety, especially for my male readers, but I am going to highlight some of my favourite points that I think are applicable to anyone who wants to be an ally to women, people of colour, and the LGBTQQ community. I added some personal comments in italics.

  • Recognize your privileges, especially your male privilege (and white privilege if applicable).
  • Make a daily effort to acknowledge and then challenge your privilege.
  • Recognize that your male privilege (among other privileges) may in fact blind you to others’ experiences.
  • Stop catcalling. Seriously, just stop! 
  • If you’re going to be chivalrous (on dates) or in everyday life, do it for everyone out of kindness, not just for women or people you think are not capable of doing things themselves. Also known as: be a kind and respectful person.
  • Monitor your use of words.
  • Never force your opinions on other people.
  • Be conscious of your words and the effects it could have on others.
  • Be pro-choice.
  • Acknowledge the lived experiences of women and LGBT-identified people. (And I will add people of colour to this).
  • Support same-sex marriage. Given.
  • Challenge everyday sexism in your life.
  • Call out your friends on oppressive behaviors, jokes, or comments. This can be difficult; I cannot count the amount of times I have argued with my brothers over their usage of “That’s so gay.” This can especially be difficult if safety is at risk. Last weekend a white male called my black friend a n*gger at the club very quietly and I called him out not at all quietly – it nearly ended in a brawl. 
  • Support musicians and artists that do not degrade women (or others) in their music and lyrics. – Have you read the lyrics or seen the video for Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines?! 
  • Claim the feminist label. Read my post about why this is important here
  • Don’t be the hero, savior, or knight in shining armor. Allyship isn’t about rescuing people from their oppressors, as if they couldn’t do it on their own. Allyship is about standing in solidarity and working together to collectively tackle a social problem.
  • Support other people who advocate for gender equality (and all forms of equality).
  • Be willing to listen and know when to refer people to other resources.
  • Be an active bystander. If you witness harassment, do something about it.
  • Learn and use appropriate vocabulary.
  • Advocate for more inclusive policies, rules, or procedures in your school or workplace.
  • Be proud to be an ally.
  • Seek out children’s books for your kids that challenge traditional gender roles. (My amazing mother read The Paper Bag Princess to me soooo many times, and my wonderful self-identified feminist father was always there to act it out with me! For other titles, go here.)
  • Challenge entitlement (read my previous blog post and personal experience about this here.)
  • This might go without saying, but be conscious of other social problems and issues! All oppression is connected.
  • Support and vote for political candidates who advocate policies beneficial to women, LGBT people, and other marginalized groups of people.
  • Travel to unfamiliar places.
  • Ask questions (but not too many)!

What are your thoughts on being an ally? What other ways can someone be an ally?

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Vote NO to M312

20 Sep

I want to share the wonderful reply I got from Elizabeth May’s office to my e-mail about voting NO to M312. This motion, proposed by Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth, would essentially reopen the debate on the definition of a human being under the Canadian Criminal Code. This could affect many reproductive rights of women, including abortion, contraception, and rights throughout pregnancy. 

“Thank you for your letter regarding the debate of the legal status of abortion in Canada, which has been re-opened by Conservative MP Stephen Woodworth in a motion called M-312. I am very disturbed by Mr. Woodworth`s back-door attempt to re-open an abortion debate in Canada.

The Green Party opposes any possible move by the Harper Conservatives to diminish the right of a woman to a safe, legal abortion. We fully support a woman’s right to choose.

Through our “pro-life, pro-choice” position, we are also committed to expanding programs in reproductive rights and education to avoid unwanted pregnancies in the first place and thus reduce the number of abortions in Canada. We have also advocated the expansion of supports for low-income mothers who wish to have a child, but may consider abortion due to lack of resources.

It is vital that safe, legal abortions be available to the women of Canada – and the world. We support federally-funded maternal health programmes to ensure access to family planning and primary health care, including access to safe, legal abortions.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth May, O.C., M.P.
Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands
Leader of the Green Party of Canada”

To read more about this motion, please visit here, here and here. See what Stephen Woodworth has to say about it on his website here

Encourage your local MP to follow Elizabeth May’s lead and vote NO tomorrow!