Top row, L-R: Tina Boado and Roanne Carreon of Queer Safe Spaces, gender rights advocates. Bottom row, L-R: Rica Salomon and Gitri San Diego, trans visibility trailblazers.
March 8 is International Women's Day. This year's theme is "Embracing Equity". The IWD 2023 #EmbraceEquity campaign theme seeks to get the world talking about why "equal opportunities are no longer enough" — and, in fact, can be exclusionary, rather than inclusive. Read here to know what's the difference between equity and equality - and why is it important to understand, acknowledge and value this.
At The Red Whistle, we focus our work to highlight the plight of LGBTQIA+ women, particularly trans women, bisexual women, queer women, and lesbian women. Embracing equity in the context of LGBTQIA+ women means acknowledging and addressing the historical and ongoing marginalization, discrimination, and violence experienced by these groups of women based on their gender identity and sexual orientation.
It means recognizing the unique challenges and barriers they face in accessing healthcare, education, employment, housing, and other basic rights, as well as the intersectional impacts of other forms of oppression such as racism, ableism, and classism.
Embracing equity also involves actively working to dismantle the systemic structures and social norms that perpetuate inequality and to create inclusive and affirming environments that value and center the experiences, perspectives, and contributions of all women, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.
This includes advocating for policy changes, providing resources and support services, and amplifying the voices and leadership of trans women, queer women, bisexual women, and lesbian women in all areas of society.
Here are some ways we can embrace equity in our work of supporting LGBTQIA+ women:
Educate ourselves: It's essential to educate ourselves on the experiences and issues faced by these groups of women, including the unique challenges and barriers they face in society. This can involve reading books, attending training sessions, and engaging with communities of trans women, queer women, bisexual women, and lesbian women.
Listen to their voices: We should center and amplify the voices of trans women, queer women, bisexual women, and lesbian women, and let them lead the conversation about their needs and experiences.
Create safe spaces: It's essential to create safe spaces where trans women, queer women, bisexual women, and lesbian women can express themselves without fear of judgment or discrimination.
Challenge discrimination: We should speak out against any form of discrimination or harassment based on gender identity or sexual orientation. This includes challenging our own biases and assumptions and advocating for others to do the same.
Foster inclusive and affirming environments: We can create inclusive and affirming environments in our workplaces, schools, and communities by promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. This can include providing resources and support services, creating policies that promote inclusivity, and fostering a culture of respect and acceptance.
Advocate for their rights: We can advocate for policies and laws that protect the rights of trans women, queer women, bisexual women, and lesbian women, such as access to healthcare, housing, education, and employment. We can also support organizations that work towards these goals. The Red Whistle is one such organization and we welcome volunteers to help advocate for this cause.
Overall, embracing equity requires a willingness to learn, listen, and take action to support the needs and experiences of trans women, queer women, bisexual women, and lesbian women. It requires a commitment to creating a more equitable and just society for all.