Within my bubble of being recognized as male in society, receiving treatment as a male and otherwise always being told I’m entitled to career success and good pay as a male (whether it be conscious commentary or subconscious expectations), I often forget that as a queer feminist who recognizes the incredible women who’ve inspired me, that there are people who literally find the title of “Women’s March” offensive.
I forgot that people have an issue with the idea of an all-inclusive “Women’s March.” That the word “Woman” causes controversy. That a woman existing somehow makes people uncomfortable.
But you know who doesn’t forget this? Women. Women. Women.
Women’s Rights are Human Rights. Duh. But even my male privilege had me forgetting that people have an issue seeing this.
As I learned about the Women’s March on Washington, I knew I had to be there. I will admit I was a bit leery on whether it would be a predominantly entitled white-feminism event, but the more I read about it and learned how inclusive the march was (including the diversity within its organizers and the organizations that were in partnership with the march), I knew for sure this would be historic. And I had to be there. To feel the energy. To feel the power of thousands and thousands of black, Latinx, white, Asian, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, queer, lesbian, trans, bisexual, gay, immigrant, foreign-born, young, old, women, men, genderqueer, any kind and every kind of person all coming together as a collective to speak out against all the fuck-shit that makes any person less than equal, and the ring-leader of keeping that fuck-shit going in our government: President Donald Trump. This was about sending a message. And we all wanted to be there to co-sign it.
I rode down to D.C. solo on the Greyhound bus from New York. I had some friends who would be at the march but knew that it would be difficult to meet up. On the way there, the universe blessed me with a new friend, Ailyn, who was also heading down solo from New York on the bus. She saw I was reading The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav and we started talking about the power of intention. Zukav writes that the intention of your cause determines the effect. We chatted about life, astrology, relationships and intention all the way to Union Station. Ailyn would be my partner in march.
I loved readings signs for dozens of human rights causes. To those who think causes for women’s rights, black lives, trans people, LGBT rights, etc. are some how divisive: please put away your ignorance and LISTEN. Being at the march showed that every person behind these causes supported the others too. We were in this together. For all of it.
We sang together. We chanted together. When someone chanted “Black Lives Matter”, we all chanted Black Lives Matter. When someone chanted “Fuck Misogyny”, we all chanted Fuck Misogyny. When someone chanted “Muslim Lives Matter” we all chanted Muslim Lives Matter. When someone chanted “Trans Lives Matter” we all chanted Trans Lives Matter.
The only fear I had about the march was feeling claustrophobic. I was once caught in an insane crowd of Kanye fans after he tweeted that he would put on a surprise show at Webster Hall. My friends and I ran through the streets to get in line and once we got there, ya girl could not BREATHE. Neither could my friend Rae. Panic ensued. We found a way to get out, but it was mad wild. I was not about to experience that all over again.
But throughout the march I hardly had any anxiety. Every soul there looked out for each other. I was surrounded by women who made me feel safe and cared for. We were surrounded by men who let us know they had our backs. There was an overwhelming energy of love and compassion there that made me lose it a few times. At one point, I looked up to see Ms. Harriet Tubman smiling down on us while honored as the new face of the 20 dollar bill. I completely lost it. I wore sunglasses for a reason. To hide the tears of gratitude and human connectedness, and march on.
Never before have I experienced a kind of love on that scale until the march. We carried the pain in our hearts caused by injustice, lives lost and battles we continue to fight against hatred and ignorance in this country. We brought that pain and used it to love each other, to have empathy for each other. I felt a collective heart beat that kept us moving through the streets. And it was absolutely wondrous. Over 2.9 million people all around the world showed out. Marching, chanting, hugging, cheering.
There were people who said this march would have no meaning, that it would be pointless. That it would leave no impact. I thought back to Ailyn and I talking about the power of intention. I understood that the reason why the march was such an impactful historic movement, and why no protest relatedarrests were made in D.C., was because the intention was clear and simple: to fight hatred through love and unity.
When any intention is love and unity, love and unity is what shows up. And it did that day.
That’s the legacy it will leave behind. And I hope that we will continue to be allies for each other.