XX - Much Better - It's Scary! It's Really Scary!
So, How can yesterday’s rally and march been both very positively meaningful and very scary and discouraging? On the positive side we were diverse (a few too few men though), empowered, strong, committed and very present. A variety of important issues were brought up relating to women and trans people and their rights, as well as needs. Older and younger people shared together and some of the signs and other messages were incredibly insightful and powerful.
I went over to talk with the woman who carried a two-sided, detailed sign that moved me greatly. She shared a lot with me. Her baby daughter - clearly medically challenged - with a wire coming out of her nose. This woman (seemingly) did Not need to be there at all. It was, very important to her, though, to be visibly there, showing the clear message of what being “pro-life” is. She told me a little of how difficult her life is, and how happy she is to have her daughter, with all her medical issues. Both of them share a deep love!
It was scary to see so many young Latino, Filipino, and white people smiling and clearly saying to us:
“We won! Face the New Reality! Obviously, the (church structured) Catholics (part of them) were pushing their truths at us: The Knights of Columbus and others. The Old White Men - like me - were hardly there. We, who cause the problems, are (always) invisible when it matters, to hide the control that we push upon others!
We have a lot of work to do! In the short run, things look very discouraging!
We are also in community with others! I’m clearly an “outsider”. I’m very accepting that I will always be an outsider, glancing, but not deeply seeing within. It feels like other men don’t seem to push forward. We are here - protesting, amongst the others, mostly women and trans folks. We don’t have the same thing, hard to readily put my finger on, that the women do!
Think of when one of us men is facing something really critical in our lives. Maybe our sibling is facing a really difficult situation. Perhaps, their life partner has threatened them and is really abusive. Or, a parent or child is critically ill?
In such situations, we are quite naturally - totally immersed in the most challenging circumstances of our lives. Life is Very, Very Challenging ! (in this hypothetical situation).
Now, for a lot of women, The Dobbs Supreme Court Decision - wiping out 50 years of legalized abortion, is very traumatic!
They connect - really connect - and a reasonable number of them - are out there - with signs, with energy, their hearts are tied in - from anger, concern, love, fear, as well as some deep understanding of the facts and what they mean to women and girls!
Today - is the 50th Anniversary! I cried some. I felt connection - and love and caring - in many ways.
I’m Seriously bothered
What bothers me ties directly into the challenges that I and we face in doing this work!
I spent parts of two Very Meaningful days, as a real “outsider” at two major (though not really large) gatherings where we were united among our diversity supporting an important cause. It was important for me to be there!
I carried a sign - see above - both days. I wore the same t-shirt - both days, in English on the back, Spanish on the front. Saturday - I even spoke at the rally (briefly near the end)- while holding the sign - so others could see the message and well as hearing me speak it.
I got a fair number of compliments from others - both days! I got some questions. I engaged with men - as seemed appropriate. There were a lot more women both days. I engaged with a few male-female couples. I also talked with women.
It was “strange”!
The “strangeness” - relates directly to why it is important that I do this work. I find some things similar among fellow white people - with a racial twist when around Black People - related to racism issues. The strangeness - reflects a reality that I hear and see in many situations, related to multiple issues.
Women smiled. Women complimented me. Women - a few - asked me questions.
Men engaged when I initiated conversations. We talked about a lot of things.
Men - NEVER - asked me anything - related to - MERJ! Men never responded to either my t-shirt or my sign.
Related to racism, nearly always there are a lot more women and queer/trans people, than men, and many of the men appear to be gay/queer. Black People - respond to the sign or the t-shirt. White people rarely do.
“Dr. Freud” (sic) - with his (my) analysis.
Men - are there - with their partners - supporting their partners. A few men - are there - solidarity with the women. Men - love - being complimented for being there. Women - connect - with other women there.
Men are praised. Women aren’t praised anywhere near as much.
It’s much harder - psychologically - for many, if not most, men! They don’t find solidarity with other men - they don’t know. They - don’t feel a deep connection - a Strong tie - to “the work”. They want to be supportive, but they want to stay in their comfort zone. The unknown - of “doing the work” is scary.
If we are going to end racism, and if we are going to seriously help end sexism - and if abortion and Positive Outcomes - related to reproductive justice is to become a real reality, we collectively - as men, particularly white men, are going to need to do a lot of work that is new to most of us.
I know that I want to do “the work” and am trying to do it. I make mistakes! I try to undo any harm I cause - and re-commit to trying to do better.
I’m not better than other men!
We each need to find our own path! Our paths differ!
A Skyline High School (Oakland) Drama teacher was there with two of her students.
All three spoke most movingly today. It is challenging to hear of how - we as men and boys - touch others - without permission - invading their private space - totally in public. We look - deeply look - at their bodies - their attire - and call them names. They are proud of themselves! They are doing their work.
Doing the work - is finding our way. Our ways vary greatly. One man I admire a lot has a lot of admirable parts - and has Never been to a demonstration or march in his life. One man, a close ally, is “all in his head” - doesn’t focus at all upon feelings. Feelings - and my heart - are both vitally important to me.
I am learning to love and respect myself. Meaning - is most important for me. Connection - community - partnering and similar - are all similarly significant to me.
I hope that more men will join us! Joining us can be many, quite varied things! Thanks!
NOTE: The pictures - of January 21-22 2023 - that are meant to accompany this writing - are not uploading properly here. It's viewable in its entirety at: