I am a woman. I am a white woman. I am a white woman who identifies as a lesbian.
I am an overweight, white woman who identifies as a lesbian, has a (cute) short haircut, and wears men’s clothing.
I am a white, lesbian woman who looks “butch” (cue stereotypical vomiting for this term) and has experienced bullying by those who do not agree with my bedroom choices.
I am a white, lesbian, butch woman who enjoys a good meal or two and has been beaten by men who do not know her and never will, only the hatred they feel based on her sexual attraction.
I am a white, lesbian woman who dresses in men’s clothing while holding some extra pounds and has been called all of the following derogatory terms in public, both to her face and behind her back while doing normal daily activities: dyke, fat dyke bitch, bitch, fat bitch, carpet muncher, rapist, and child molester.
These terms have been yelled at me, screamed at me, whispered about me, said to me in a calm “we shall heal you” type of manner—and also just jokingly said in what the other party thought was casual conversation.
I have been refused service at stores. I have been refused entry into the women’s restroom because my aesthetic determines the degree to which I need to sit and pee. I have been denied employment. I have been denied housing. I have been denied comfort and support when asking for it. All the prior based upon my love for women and the fact that a penis doesn’t occupy the space that my lady parts do.
I have faced discrimination from friends, family members, coworkers, grocery store workers, landlords, employers, and (my favorite) a car salesman who just couldn’t wrap his head around me not wanting him because I identify as a lesbian and he had never accepted no in his life.
I have lived a life with very little privilege, or so it would seem.
You know what this all means?
Nothing, because I am still privileged in comparison to my brothers and sisters with more melanin in their skin.
This list of transgressions I have had to endure doesn’t include any of the following scenarios: fear to drive my vehicle down the street, fear to own or have on my person a legally registered gun, fear to call the police in an emergency, fear to have my children walk around the neighborhood, fear to speak to the police, ad infinitum.
My list of bullying also has never ended with me staring down the barrel of an assault weapon, lifting my life up to the universe in the hopes it will care for my family, as I have no way of walking out of this situation. My history of bullying has never ended with my life being taken by the same entities that are meant to protect me. My history of bullying has never ended with me burying an innocent member of my family, whose life was lost at the hands of someone given too much power. My history of bullying has never left me pinned to the ground, begging for my mother while exclaiming that I can’t breathe.
“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Our Buddhist brothers and sisters must be weeping as they watch us here in America. How does an entire cultural group let go of the transgressions of “those cops” without feeling defeated? How do we, as a white culture, make sure our brothers and sisters of color are safe from harm when those who protect us have now become enemy number one? Freedom is the only condition for happiness, so essentially, we have stripped an entire culture from having even the chance at true happiness.
No one is free until all of us are free. Freedom can’t come with addendums and fine print; it just is, and that is that. You are either free or you are not.
Have I faced discrimination? Yes.
Have I worried for my safety occasionally? Yes.
Am I not privileged because of any of these statements? Absolutely and unequivocally, no—when compared to a culture that is met with shoot first, ask questions never.
So as a white, lesbian, overweight, masculine woman…I am here to say I stand with you, next to you, and in front of you. I will never just sit back and watch them kill you. I may not have much privilege to spread around but all I have is yours.
A minority with privilege.