I didn’t think of myself as an activist.
Until a friend outlined the various ways in which I was becoming one.
I attend protests, not as many as I would like, since most happen on weekends and I work. I ducked out of work to attend the counter-protest in response to the Charles Best Secondary protest versus the Paramount Gentlemen’s Club….
…with my manager first declaring that I shouldn’t get arrested, but then, if I did, to get pictures.
I wish I could have attended the Occupy protests, the latest Slutwalk…. I went three years ago now, I guess, and it was amazing. I do partake in charity events that also help dispel the stigma against exotic dance, though the main purpose is to raise funds for families that are caring for loved ones with cancer. It was never our intent for Dancers for Cancer to hit headlines, to spread awareness of strippers being more than just naked bodies, but there it was.
Now, I’m still receiving emails from community groups and secondary schools about participating in Human Library events.
That’s the most important thing I do, I think. Teaching kids about the reality of my previous occupations, the stigma attached to it, the lessons I took away.
All of a sudden, I somehow got invited to tweet for Whorephobia, which has been absolutely fantastic. I suddenly feel like a fish out of water, like I’m being offered things that are beyond me, but they’re really not. I have to tell myself that it’s not beyond me at all, that I am capable of speaking out, being heard. We all have to tell ourselves this from time to time, because maybe we’re used to being shoved aside, silenced.
We have to keep speaking, because even if it seems we’re not being heard, maybe someone will recall our words further down the line when they’re receptive to them, and they’ll listen. They may not be ready to listen now, but who knows what situations or life experiences will open their minds further down the line. We have to speak, we have to speak now, later, for years to come.
That’s what gets me through when I encounter kids at the Human Library that seem like they don’t want to be at my table, they don’t want to hear what I have to say… they may reflect on this later, it may still sink in. Have hope that people aren’t all shit.
Okay, working in customer service, that can be hard to believe.
I just had to put this out there, because I out-tweeted myself and there’s still words in my head, even though it’s 2am, my brain seems to be full of thoughts at this time of night.
Whether you’re an accidental activist, or you made the conscious decision to be one, we are all in this together. We can’t be silenced, we won’t let them. Just keep repeating that mantra, even when you want to bash your head into a wall.