I Will Not Be Silent

I will not be silent because people dislike the truth I speak. I will be respectful and open to discussion. I will do my best to be considerate. But I will not pussyfoot around, and I will not worry about treading on sensibilities of which I have never been informed.

I will speak up and speak openly about my issues and feelings, without giving in to fear. I expect those with whom I engage in discussion to do the same. But I will feel no contrition about pushing boundaries I don’t know exist.

I will listen with an open mind to reasoned discourse. I might even change my mind about my own position. But I will not be derailed, or swayed by nothing more than consistent and ever more strident denial and refusal to consider my views. If necessary, I will cite sources to support my position.

I will speak my truth with the awareness that my truth is my own and may not be anyone else’s. But I will not be responsible for unspoken personal truth. It is not my job to probe for the hidden thing, lest I cause offense to closely-held beliefs and apprehensions that remain unshared.

I will address behaviour. I will not condemn identity, feelings, or experience. But I can’t promise never to brush up against issues of identity, feelings, or experience that I have no clue exist in a manner which might be painful.

I will back off if asked, in the full realization that backing off does not imply backing down. I will agree to disagree. I expect the same treatment from others.

I will own my shit and I expect others to do the same. People who consistently refuse to own their shit are not worth my time and energy.

I will speak about my experience. I will say, “This happened.” I may or may not name the parties involved in my experiences, at my own discretion and not out of fear of reprisal. It is neither slanderous nor abusive to speak of my lived experience, or to stand up for myself and my gender. In speaking of my lived experience, I will not make judgments as to character, worth, morality, or other intangibles. But I will call bullshit when I see it and I will point out flawed arguments and definitions.

I will not assign blame. Neither will I accept it where blamemongering is a personal attack or diversionary tactic. I will take responsibility for my behaviour, but I will not accept personal attacks.

I will not refrain from pointing out problematic behaviour, even, or perhaps especially, when it comes from people in my personal circle or those who consider themselves allies. The bonds of friendship do not excuse a person from being sexist, racist, homo- and/or transphobic, or a general, all around douche. A person may be an ally to one group while still holding bigoted ideas of another. A person who seems to be an ally may still act out of unearned privilege toward the group with which they claim alliance. Making people aware of this is not a fault. It is not malicious gossip when I speak from my own lived experience. It is an effort to facilitate safety in interactions.

Personal work is never-ending. Neither I, nor anyone, gets a free pass because we did a portion of it, or once questioned ourselves, our beliefs, our actions, our issues, or our privilege.

Silence is violence. Silence allows privilege to go unquestioned, power structures to remain as they are, and abuses to continue. Silence supports the status quo.

I will not be silent, nor will I be silenced.

This is my declaration to myself, above and below, by the goddesses and gods of my house and my personal Patron. By earth, air, fire, and water I so declare.

So mote it be.