Trump is creating many refugees from the Christian right, people willing to step away from the traditions of their community and families and willing to oppose this new regime, even to take to the streets. Instead of being welcomed on this first part of their journey they were rejected. We need their support. They need to feel accepted as they start their journey.
This is a complicated topic... intersectionality, unity and inclusion. So I will try to just get my thoughts out in an open letter.
Dear straight white upper-middle class Christian feminist,
I am writing this letter because I want you to join us. Feminism is for everyone. Feminism needs everyone. I too am an straight white upper-middle class Christian feminist who used to be a pro-life conservative.
Feminists are opinionated. We want to be heard. No one joins this movement to stay quiet. When I started noticing things in my world I wanted to change, I had a lot to say.
In being loud, I was called out a few times for saying things that were ignorant, classist, or racist. At first I was REALLY offended. Don't these feminists want me in their movement? How can they try to tell me to be quiet and listen when the movement itself is about not being quiet?
Then I learned that feminism has had many moments in history that we are not proud of, because we were classist or racist or just totally marginalized other minorities. The women's rights organizations of the past were run by straight white rich women. Why? Because straight white rich people run everything. What do the vast majority of our US presidents have in common? Our CEOs?
When we privileged folks follow tradition and jump up to the top we run the risk of ignoring people on the fringes. No wait let me rephrase... we WILL ignore people on the fringes. We're programmed. We'll tell them to be quiet in the name of "unity" so we can save face, but in doing that we miss stories. Minorities do not go a day without hearing what the privileged have to say, they don't have the luxury of ignoring our voices. But we can and have ignored them.
So there's this idea called intersectional feminism where we are trying to step back and put on our listening ears and ask ourselves what historically underprivileged voices we have missed. Listening is more educational and much more important than, say, telling everyone you know everything and MUST BE HEARD NOW.
Let's talk about reproductive issues. So you want to be a pro-life feminist... have you ever faced an unplanned pregnancy? Has your family ever been unable to support you if life took a turn? Have you ever been without health care? Have you ever been unable to access to birth control? Have you had a pregnancy where your fetus was diagnosed with an inoperable tumor or fatal chromosomal abnormality?
If you answered no to a few of these questions, you have been privileged. You're missing some experiences. I am suggesting that you hear some of those stories from women who've had abortions.
One great way to listen is to just be present. Maybe you can't carry the sign you wanted to carry because you're at odds with some part of our movement... instead of taking your rejected sign and going home, sit back, give us a few marches, do some reading, question yourself.
In your journey you will feel called out sometimes. That's good. It means you're out of your comfort zone. If you're like me, your first reaction might be to try and defend yourself, tell us you KNOW what is right. Ask yourself how you KNOW. You might find that your isolated experiences need to be challenged. I did. I'm still learning, I'm not perfect, but I'm committed to keep listening.