Up Front by Emma Hart

60

Walk This Way

It’s been a couple of weeks since we all stopped pretending that 2017 was going to be any better than 2016. I mean, yeah, it was shitty that all those much-loved celebrities died, but what made last year such a shitter was that it was the year so many people decided to Choose Hate. Brexit. Trump. Those decisions were made, but we haven’t started to feel the real effects yet. And now, it’s nearly Inauguration Day.

What I’m seeing now is such a feeling of helplessness. What can we do? A number of people have told me that they are, basically, climbing into their internet bunkers. Setting up keyword blocks, avoiding news, hiding from things that make them feel angry and sad, because there’s nothing you can do. And I understand this. You have to pick your battles.

Before you do this, though, please make absolutely sure that there really is nothing you can do.

I don’t have all the answers. The answer I have this summer seems to be the answer to, “That guy, what’s his name?”, which is “Andrew Little.” Most of us don’t have the reach of, say, Carrie Fisher. We don’t have big platforms. And we’re all the way over in New Zealand. It doesn’t really directly affect us, right, for the same reasons there isn’t much we can do.

One thing the internet means, though, is that our communities of interest aren’t often geographical. I care about what happens to LGBT people no matter where they live. Women. Refugees. Racial minorities. Religious minorities. Disabled people. Some of us feel more connected as members or allies of those groups than we do as New Zealanders.

We all have platforms, too. All that differs is the size, the reach. An internet acquaintance of mine was heavily involved in the effort to get Jennifer Holliday to withdraw from performing at the inauguration. He got called some interesting things for this, and I personally had never heard the term “necknuts” before. But it worked.

Please know that I HEAR YOU and I feel your pain. The LGBT Community was mostly responsible for birthing my career and I am deeply indebted to you… You have loved me faithfully and unconditionally and for so many years you provided me with work even though my star had long since faded.

Thank you for communicating with me, I had no idea that I still meant so much to all of you.

I was telling a friend the other day that, while I couldn’t join in the Women’s March on Washington, I could make sure that at least people knew it was happening. People were standing up. The least I could do was say, “Look, over there, people are standing up.”

Except it turns out now that I can go. There are marches in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. I will be there. It’s something I can do.

All are welcome. The march is for any person, regardless of gender or gender identity, who believes women’s rights are human rights, that diversity is the strength of our communities, that all voices deserve to be heard & that we are stronger together.

Yes, that’s this Saturday, and that’s not much notice, but it’s also not all that much effort. And what a thing to be part of. The people knitting the Pussy Hats for it in the States have caused a wide-spread shortage of pink wool. And who knows, it might do some good here, in an election year, to show that women will stand up, that we care. The thing is, when you add all those marginalised groups together? There are more of us than there are of them.

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