I Am a Multihyphenate
I’ve been contemplating the thought of allyship and intersectionality for women and all of the really unique women are starting to voice their opinions. I, like many of you, am a multihyphenate. I occupy many spaces in addition to my womanhood. I can be a racialized minority, I may not conform to gender ideals, I also may choose to identify with my sexual orientation, I may occupy a different socio-economic class. Regardless of which identifier I ascribe to, I stand at the intersection of every facet of my identity. Each identifier informs my identity and the way in which I engage with issues.
Interestingly enough, intersectionality and allyship truly go hand in hand. I’ve learned by speaking to my peers, colleagues, friends, both male and female, that relationship building and allyship are the foundation to driving the conversation forward and finding practical solutions for the issues expressed by women.
In building lasting relationships, with those who share different perspectives, the foundation should be set upon trust, open communication, inclusivity, and most importantly, accountability. We cannot be afraid to support one another, but we must also not be afraid to call other another out on our shit if it doesn’t serve a greater purpose!
I was recently asked by a male identifying colleague, how he can be a greater ally towards women in our workplace (hyphen) to which I responded, listen first, then be vocal and share the knowledge you've gained, become comfortable with the uncomfortable taboo issues that may be raised, and engage in supportive partnerships with women.
It goes without saying, when males attempt to become allies they can be met with criticism from others or they fail to confront their own bias and privilege. However, in my colleague's case, a genuine attempt was made to have an open dialogue about how to be a better ally… I think it’s important for any ally to remember that it’s not about “saving” your counterpart but working with them to help advance their goals. This is where active communication by way of listening and sharing one’s story becomes imperative. Sharing one’s story and acknowledging (openly) one’s bias is also a necessary part of building trust. Being supportive can look like meaningfully engaging in partnerships with women. Cross-gendered allyship is about reciprocity and facilitating mutual growth. One of the ways to experience this, is to brainstorm and share ideas and resources with one another.
HER promotes inclusivity and team building as a way to build relationships within HERself and HER allies.