Okay so this post is gonna be a little more intense than some of the other ones on here (I'm talking to you emoji wars post).
This week we met with Layla Tromble, someone who was nominated for Women Among Us this year, but felt they couldn't accept the award because they do not identify as female.
When Layla told us they couldn't accept the honor, it kind of rocked our world. Cassidy, Stacy and I are three cis white females and we realized immediately this was a conversation we needed to have. Women Among Us was born from the idea that women's legacy is often forgotten in traditional history books. We wanted to recognize and honor the work women are doing in our community and document that. Putting the emphasis on women is important to us and we want to honor that, but being inclusive of EVERYONE is also crucial. If our campaign becomes something that excludes people who do not subscribe to our binary system of gender, it loses some of its purpose as well.
We asked Layla to meet with us to talk about their perspective on this issue. And wow are we glad they were willing to meet and talk. We learned so much. Plus, they gave us some fantastic book, web series and movie recommendations.
There really isn't a perfect answer to the dilemma we found ourselves in. This year we chose to spell womxn with an X in place of the E. This is one small step, but more needs to be done. Layla explained to us that the best way they know how to be inclusive is to identify specific groups. By making it women and trans and non-binary, etc. we can better identify the people we want to honor. By being more specific, we can better address and recognize the people that are often pushed to the side.
Although it sucks Layla couldn't accept the award this year we are so fucking grateful they were open and more than willing to talk about this with us. It was a really eye opening experience for us and we are so glad we had the opportunity.
Layla nominated someone in their place who I can't name right now because it's a secret until her post day, BUT. She is so freaking cool and she is doing some AMAZING, impactful work in our community and in our world.
Oh and if you're curious about some of Layla's book and show recommendations, here's a few:
Carmilla (find it on YouTube)
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo