Anti-Oppression & Liberatory Practice
Gender and inclusion: What do I mean when I say woman?
In previous iterations of my work I have used gender-related terms that I have been told were harmful, and did not serve the intention of inclusion.
After reflecting on the feedback I was given, it became clear to me that as a cisgender woman, I can’t hold myself out as qualified to facilitate “safe” space for anyone who is not a woman, and more specifically, a cisgender woman. Therefore, I am using the term woman (at least for now) in my marketing language.
This space and my work is intended for women, by which I mean people who have lived experience of misogyny.
People of marginalized genders are also welcome if they are comfortable in spaces that centre women and people who have lived experience of misogyny.
I can’t say I’ve got my gender politics down, just like I can’t say I’ve mastered my internalized White supremacy. All I can say is I don’t want to “be right,” rather I’m committed to “getting it right” by receiving feedback, taking responsibility and repairing harm.
Anti-oppression and liberatory practice
I am an uninvited guest on land that was stolen (see note at end re use of this term) from the Mississauga as part of Crawford Purchase (1783) , and is within the traditional territories of the Huron-Wendat and Oneida peoples, in rural south-eastern Ontario.
I invite you to pause as you read this and think about the land you are on. If you don’t know whose land it is, find out here. Then I invite you to consider how you are called into reconciliation with indigenous peoples.
I am Jewish, and a W/white settler. I have W/white privilege because I “look W/white.” I have gender privilege because I am cisgender and conforming (femme) in my gender expression. My privilege also includes socio-economic and heterosexual (because, although bisexual, I’m partnered with a man). In addition, I am old, small fat, bisexual, chronically ill and temporarily mobility-impaired.
The first step on my anti-racism journey in 2020 was to acknowledge my W/white privilege. I’m a direct descendant of Mayflower “Pilgrims,” and I used to be proud of that Mayflower heritage. Now I’m asking what it calls me to today.
Then, I learned I had been using my Jewishness as a cover for my W/whiteness. In the past I had let myself off the hook intellectually, because prioritizing my Jewish identity over my W/whiteness and W/white privilege allowed me to believe, “I’m W/white, but not like those W/white people.”
Next, I learned a lesson about centring W/whiteness and myself:
My practices are outlined in my plan here:
Using the processes from Nicole Cardoza’s Anti-Racism Daily resource (Re)commit to your role, I identified the following.
I have influence with friends and family; in communities I “lead”; with clients; and in communities of which I’m a member.
Within these areas of influence, my role is:
My growth areas are:
As far as justice, equity, diversity and inclusion goes in this space (on my website and in my work), my working statement updated on 15 April 2022 appears at the top of this page.
P.S. FYI, I have included my values statement below.
The primary value from which all others flow is love.
Love, both fierce and tender, is a powerful force for change.
I see what I call secondary values as expansions of the principal value of love.
(also known as love)
I aim for my thoughts, words and deeds to be oriented toward integrating truth, love and courage in action to preserve what serves life and challenge what doesn’t.
“Nonviolence is a way of being and living that orients, in thought, word and deed, towards integrating love, truth, and courage in individual and collective action that is aimed at preserving what serves life and challenging what doesn’t to transform itself so the human family can realign with life.
Even in extreme circumstances, responding nonviolently emerges from inner resolve, systemic and historical awareness, and a vision of a future Beloved Community within the family of life. In practice, such responses rest on the commitment to transmute reaction into the willingness to include all of life in our circle of care; to uncover and speak the fullness of what we witness; to take action based on our vision and values, ranging from dialogue to civil disobedience; and to face the consequences of our choices and engage with impacts on ourselves, others, and life as a whole.” Miki Kashtan
In my life and work, I aim to embody and practice radical compassion.
“Every action is an attempt to meet a universal human need.” Marshall Rosenberg
“The curious paradox is that, when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” Carl Rogers
“Every bad feeling is potential energy toward a more right way of being if you give it space to move toward its rightness.” Gene Gendlin
In my life and work I am aiming for liberation for all from all oppression.
Liberatory process is required for liberatory outcomes.
I am doing what I know how to resist and dismantle oppressive systems that perpetuate harms due to privilege(s), White supremacy, racism, anti-Semitism, transphobia, sexism, age-ism, fat phobia and any other -ism/-phobia, and to engage in new, liberatory ways of being.
I am willing to be called into dialogue about harms I have caused and how I can repair them and restore relationship.
In my work and life, I aim to care for all resources (emotional, physical, communal, social, animal, plant, ecosystems, etc.) so that they can be an enduring foundation for my work. I aim to create conditions in my life, in the lives of my clients, and in the world that allow us all to flourish. I have changed this from sustainability because sustain means status quo to me. Rather than simply sustain and not deplete things, I want to create conditions for flourishing.
In my life and work, I aim to walk my talk. I aim to demonstrate my values in thought, word and deed toward myself and others, when it is visible and when it is invisible. I also mean this in the Rogerian sense, in that I aim to be appropriately transparent. Transparent meaning that my outsides match my insides, and I’m clear about it, and appropriately meaning that I share about this congruence in alignment with the relational process in which I’m engaged at any moment.
I am willing to be called into dialogue and accountability when my words and actions appear to be incongruent.
*Crawford Purchase (1783): This land was stolen. The British government did not fulfill its contractual obligations under the terms of the purchase. Thus the agreement is nullified. The land was therefore stolen through deceit.
The British government used the Crawford Purchase as a tool of oppression and colonization. Treaties were not seen by colonizers as nation-to-nation agreements–although they led the signing nations to believe this was the case–but as bringing the signatory nations under the jurisdiction of European laws. It was then claimed that the signatories were subject to these laws. Thus sovereign Indigenous peoples became subjects (not citizens), and European law was used to deny them their territory, their traditional ways, and even the benefits promised in the treaty itself. Crawford Purchase was the first of many treaties thus used. The land on which I live and work is stolen land.