Can we Make Equality a Reality?
Can the future ever transcend gender?
I often think about how a vagina and boobs do not a woman make even though I am one and had the good fortune of being born cis. Because there’s no discrepancy between how I identify and present and what my body looks like, I’ve always taken my womanhood for granted.
Not all women are this lucky or indeed privileged. For trans women, the road to selfhood is paved with innumerable hardships and expenses while rejection always looms large. The same goes for trans men and anyone who identifies as non-binary in a world without nuances that still only caters to cis males and females.
For many humans, being yourself is a lifelong obstacle course fraught with struggles and pain. For the rest of us, it’s self-evident and something we never have to question or think about even though we all should.
Being human means we all have a duty of care toward one another, without exception. Because without fellow feeling and solidarity, there can be no cohesion, no evolution, no thriving for the human race as a whole.
Stagnation is for water, not human minds.
Even if something isn’t happening to you, it still concerns you.
Because we are a social species, no one lives at a remove even though many of us try. Discrimination, for example, isn’t an abstract but a mindset and an attitude, something some humans do to other humans.
Discrimination is something we humans do to ourselves.
See how a simple linguistic change and the use of a personal pronoun in the plural form can help put things in perspective and bring us together?
Without establishing some basic rules to guarantee everyone’s safety and wellbeing, othering will continue apace. And more of us will die. We may have constitutions and laws to protect us from ourselves but pieces of paper are powerless against ignorance.
How can you relate to a fellow human if you don’t know anything about their reality?
There’s no better cure for solipsism than tech privilege. Most of us in the West carry the internet in our pocket and are plugged into social media 24/7 so even if we live in the armpit of wherever, there’s no excuse not to be informed and aware.
How humans who aren’t us do human elsewhere is no secret anymore.
Tech has made self-expression and activism possible for anyone with a message so all we have to do is pay attention.
Only then will we rid ourselves of our unexamined assumptions and confront our prejudices, for the common good.
Like it or not, equality is a reality under construction.
From gender parity in government as is the case in France and Canada to marriage equality, we’ve come a long way on both sides of the Atlantic.
But we haven’t arrived yet.
In Europe, we have the Istanbul Convention, a Council of Europe treaty to prevent and combat violence against women, and domestic violence. It was necessary to legislate because “there can be no real equality between women and men if women experience gender-based violence on a large-scale and state agencies and institutions turn a blind eye.”
And yet, in France alone, a woman has died at the hands of her partner every two days since January 2019. Femicides are difficult to document because stories aren’t systematically covered by the press. What’s more, official figures aren’t always available either.
What’s undeniable is that women continue to die at the hands of men despite legislation designed to protect us.
In the US, meanwhile, we’re regressing as men attempt to dictate how we women avail ourselves of our reproductive organs. With an administration determined to undo all hard-won progress, there’s no choice but to push back.
Equality has been a long time coming, it is already under way and we can make progress unstoppable but only as long as we all get involved.
That’s why the only way forward is to look at the person next to you as a human, regardless of what gender they identify with, if any.
Human means equal.
And how each of us does human should never be up for discussion or subject to anyone else’s approval because self-determination is a basic human right.
I’m a French-American writer, journalist, and editor living out of a suitcase in transit between North America and Europe. To continue the conversation, follow the bird. For email and everything else, deets in bio.