In support of International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia & ending street harassment

17 May

Street harassment is a symptom of the broader epidemic of a culture that that excuses and often promotes violence and discrimination on the basis of (actual or perceived) gender, sexuality, identity, and sexual orientation.

Ending street harassment means more than addressing the kinds of cat calls, threats, and harassment that take place in public spaces every day. Ending street harassment means breaking down the systems that support it: sexism, racism, homophobia and transphobia.

May 17th is International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, and we can’t think of a better time to start (and continue) the end of street harassment.

You can take action in as little as…

5 minutes:

  • Make a personal pledge to call out homophobic, transphobic, and sexist attitudes.
  • Experienced gender-based harassment or any other kind of harassment in public spaces? Share your story.
  • ‘like’ 2 programs/groups working to end street harassment and gender-based violence (Safe Streets AZ and IDAHO are two examples)
  • Post a status update expressing your support of International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
  • Stay informed – sign up to receive Alerts on street harassment, LGBTQ harassment, homophobic and transphobic hate crimes.

15 minutes:

  • Invite 10-15 Facebook friends to ‘like’ programs/pages working to end street harassment and other forms of gender-based violence.
  • If you have a blog, write a blog post about your personal experiences regarding how you express your gender, and whether and how public harassment has impacted your expression.
  • Close your eyes and meditate for 5 minutes on what a world free from gender/sex/identity-based harassment would look like. This is the goal. Journal/write about your vision and post it somewhere where you can look at it often.
  • Write a letter to a public official who supports anti-harassment legislation and LGBTQ rights promotion –can be a senator, local representative, whoever—and thank them. Urge friends to do the same.

60 minutes:

  • Write an op-ed piece about ending homophobia, transphobia, sexism, and street harassment, and submit it to your local newspaper or online journal (Bust, Hollaback, Ms., Jezebel, Stop Street Harassment, The Riot, etc, and the Tucson Weekly for a local example if you’re in Tucson, AZ)
  • Create a drawing, comic, or other artwork about ending gender/sex/identity-based harassment.
  • Start an online or in person petition calling for policy change regarding gender/sex/identity-based harassment (does your school/organization/community have any legal protections that cover gender identity? What laws are in place in your area regarding public harassment and hate speech?)
  • Hop online and research organizations in your area who are working to end harassment, homophobia, and transphobia. Bonus: Send them an e-mail or give them a call to find out about volunteer opportunities. (Suggestions in AZ- Wingspan, SACASA).
  • Make a 30 second PSA calling for an end to gender/sex/sexual orientation/identity-based street harassment. Post it to YouTube.

A few great reasons to get involved and take action today:

  • For everyone who has ever been bullied or harassed in public and/or private spaces on the basis of their appearance, sexual activity,
  • For everyone who has ever had their gender identity called into question, or used as a source of ridicule.
  • For everyone who has had someone they care about be harassed, put down, excluded, or otherwise intimidated/threatened on the basis of their gender/sexuality/sexual orientation/identity.
  • For everyone who has ever had a sexist/homophobic/transphobic comment thrown their way and has felt unable to do anything about it.
  • For every transgender and gender-queer person afraid for their safety in public and private spaces
  • For every male-identified person told to “man up” or harassed on the basis of their perceived masculinity/femininity.
  • For every woman and girl –of every sexual orientation and walk of life—who has been called a “dyke” or “bitch” for calling out street harassment and unwanted sexual aggression
  • For every woman and girl –of every sexual orientation and walk of life—who has been called a “dyke” or “bitch” for not responding to street harassment or unwanted sexual aggression
  • For every child who is growing up in a world where people think it’s “okay” to cause emotional, verbal, and physical harm to other people on the basis of their perceived or expressed gender/sexuality/sexual orientation, etc.
  • For yourself.
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