The Value in People

by Jaqueline Sephora Andrews

People matter and are more important than any movement could ever be.  It is very dangerous to become so taken by the movement that you fail to see the value in people.  My analysis is based in Black Feminist Thought, and I am critical of the system of gender with the aim of completely abolishing it.  Of course, one would call me a hypocrite for being a transsexual, but I survive in a gendered world; I don’t need gender to survive.  I do, however, feel that the term “gender critical” is sometimes abused by transgenderists who are seeking to be validated by radical feminists.  Do you really believe that being gender critical is a luxury? If you really want to be “gender critical” then please understand that you will be hated by people from different sides.  People who even hate each other, will join together in their hatred of you.  When radical feminists didn’t fall for their schemes, some transgenderists became really violent, with one stalking and threatening a woman and her children.  The issue wasn’t participating in the movement, but it was in not valuing a person’s life.  People are more important than any movement.  It is not about attracting feminists, but fighting oppression, and how can you fight oppression at the expense of other people?  It defeats the purpose.  No movement will become more important than the people within it.

People are important.  When you value life, you can honor and respect opposing view points.  Some might not like that I’m a transsexual, or feel that I too appropriate other realities. I can disagree with other opinions, but their lives matter regardless of how their comments make me feel.  The world doesn’t revolve around my feelings.  The lack of respect for people, especially women, is why it was necessary for me to leave the trans movement.  I saw that it was a misogynistic movement that expected women to be obedient.  Women who don’t obey are labelled Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist (TERF) and targeted with abuse.  Regardless of how you feel, transwomen, radical feminists are people and entitled to their analysis.  If what they are saying isn’t true, then why do you work so hard to try to silence their voices?  You have fallen for your political agenda that you fail to see the value in people.  People deserve safety.  Women are entitled to their safe spaces.

What is safety? For me, I had never really been in a place of safety.  I respect safe spaces for women, but I myself had never really felt safe in any space I was in.  I live a life always on guard feeling like I need to keep a protective shield around me.  It wasn’t until I spent time with a dear friend that I could truly say I felt safe.  It was so wonderful; for the first time, I could truly be me.  I could finally pour out my heart, without any fear.  It was even a time of healing for me.  Even though my dear friend is a friend for life, this time is a memory that I will always keep in my heart.  For me, safe spaces are in relationships because how could you truly be safe if you’re not safe with the people in your “safe space.”  I thank the Lord for my “safe space.”

And how awful would it be if someone would dare call my friend a TERF?  A person who has shown me all the love I could ever hope for in a friend?  A person who I love, dearly?  Think about my reaction; it wouldn’t be a wonderful place for you to be.  Why?  Because she matters to me.  It is in relationships where you find safety.  For the sake of a movement, some will seek to take people away from the people who love them and in many cases will abuse the people they have isolated.  This is the danger in valuing a movement over the people within the movement.  If you would attempt to attack my friends then you should know that you are not attempting to attack an isolated person.  My friends matter to me.  When are you going to stop using people for your political agendas?  I am not anyone’s puppet; I am not seeking anyone’s validation.  I believe that true friendships are worth cherishing and defending.  I believe that if you call someone a friend then you should really be their friend.  Friendship is a bond that no movement can break.  How can you call someone your friend if you turn your head when they are being attacked?  I could not see my dear friend, who I love like she was my actual sister, hurt and turn my head; it is not in me to turn away, even if the ones attacking her just happened to be feminists.  My sister comes first before any movement, and the love is such that I would be there in her support and defense at any time.  Why?  Because she matters to me.  How she feels matters to me.  I don’t listen too well when I hear someone say that I shouldn’t take sides.  When it comes to my sister, I will always take sides.  Why would I even call someone my friend and sister if I wasn’t going to be real?  I don’t need anyone’s validation or approval.  I just know that friendships, especially concerning my sister, are bonds that can’t be broken.  When are you going to stop using people for your political agendas?

Then I have other people who come to me with an issue of who I have in my life and who I consider my close friends.  They will say that “feminism is for white women; you need to focus on black liberation.”  Black liberation sounds nice, but who is really being liberated?  Who would really be liberated in a black liberation movement, in a misogynistic society?  Black liberation would really be black male liberation.  My analysis is based in Black Feminist Thought.  There is no common oppression among black and white, so to address the needs and concerns of black women, you need to acknowledge that there is a reality for black women that white women have not experienced.  It is also necessary to acknowledge the historical oppression of black women, and that even white women have also been oppressors of black women.  I believe that black liberationists will agree with me on this, but here is where we differ.  Black men have also been oppressors of black women, mostly because many black men have been chasing after their slave masters since before anyone can remember, but they also have been denied their “rightful” entry into the patriarchal hierarchy.  The only place where they were allowed dominance was in the home.  Why is this so important for me to say?  Because I am sick and tired of misogyny in the black community.  Who is going to stand up and say enough is enough.  I will, right here, right now.  My analysis is Black FEMINIST Thought.  If you really supported black liberation, then you would support black feminism.  In black feminism, men are considered “Comrades in the Struggle” (bell hooks).  The issue is that you haven’t broken your masters chain.  In order to be free, you need to reject your master and his “way of life.”  As with other movements, black liberationists who value the movement over people’s lives have taken people away from the ones who love them and care for them.  No movement will ever come before someone I love, regardless of their race.

Why say you love someone, if you are going to throw them under the bus the first chance you get?  I don’t need your praise.  I don’t need your cookies.  I know that when I say that I am your friend then I am going to be your friend.  And even deeper than friendship, is someone I call my sister.  When are you going to stop using people for your political agendas?  People are real, and their lives matter.  The movement is important, and I will defend the movement.  However, the movement will never come before the people I hold close to my heart.



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