It’s Not About You: On Performative Allyship

various "ally cookies" with frosting saying various minor actions that people do and think that they deserve congrats for, like "not a racist", "has a gay friend", and "meets minimum standards of decent human"

various “ally cookies” with frosting saying various minor actions that people do and think that they deserve congrats for, like “not a racist”, “has a gay friend”, and “meets minimum standards of decent human”, with “Good for you. Want a cookie?” on the bottom and under that someone replying “Ahhh, I love these so much.”

“Your actions speak so loud I can’t hear a word you’re saying”

I Want to Conquer the World, Bad Religion

I have written on how allies shouldn’t expect us to be nice in By our side or out of our way and how the very concept of expecting such is screwed up in Refuting Respectability.

But probably the most exhausting type of allies are the performative ones.

Performative allies are the ones who want to be applauded for their actions of being an ally.

They’re the ones with safety pin profile pictures, make these aesthetically atrocious straight pride flags (this looks like prison bars, which is where the maker of this flag belongs for designing this and co-opting marginalized people creating pride flags to make themselves seem marginalized, I explained why pride for being a minority is different from pride in being a majority in Rebellious Joy), try to claim the A for ally not asexuals like myself in LTBTQIA (yes, historically it did mean that to include closeted people, but the allies who say that now feel like they are doing such great service that they should be included in the acronym that is supposed to be for marginalized people).

And while this might be a bit of a controversial take, if you asked me which was more of a drain on my mental faculties in this era, the fascists or them, I’d pick the latter.

All of my focus is on the people who are also suffering, my fellow Outcast.

It’s not on being nice to others, and performative allies come to me and demand additional labor and get upset when we don’t appreciate their performance, call us mean when we don’t acknowledge their words.

And honestly, that’s really all these “allies” give.

Performative allies expect great commendation for minimal labor.

If you wear a shirt or a pin, decide to make our venting against our oppressor centered around you (cis person saying “cis people suck/I suck/I’m sorry for those cis people”, for example. When we’re saying it it’s us venting usually because we were screwed over in some way [and if us not being nice all the time turns you off here’s an article on why that’s screwed up], when you’re doing it it’s just trying to get cookies), or do other things of this nature which require barely anything at all, the amount of work you do (or lack thereof) is going to be noticed and we couldn’t care less about which line you’re regurgitating (hence the song quote).

 Ally shouldn’t be a noun you hold like a personality trait, something that you call yourself, but should show through your actions. Don’t try to show us what a great person you are, support and center us. Listen to what we’re saying, if it jars you, challenges what you considered true in your worldview, listen and analyze that. Use what you’ve learned to call out your own community, taking advantage of the fact that it’s not an attack on you which makes it so it’s much easier for you to handle.

Your allyship shouldn’t be conditional on praise but based on believing we deserve to live free of hatred and systemic bigotry. You shouldn’t be looking to us for praise every step of the way, cluttering threads with telling us that you’re trash (…we know, validated by the fact that you decided you needed to come here in the first place), but should be finding places where you can help. You shouldn’t be putting into focus your opinions on issues that face us but trying to make it so our voices are heard about our experiences. You should be supporting us not the other way around.

If you come to us trying to perform and get attention, don’t be surprised if you get the reaction you deserve not the one you desire. Lives are on the line, and I don’t have the ability to commend you for your mediocre actions when I’m barely keeping myself alive. Any true “ally” would realize that.

Your Time is Now: a Call to Activism

If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. - Audre Lorde

If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive. – Audre Lorde

“Now, the time is now
We can still turn it around
Raise your voice like a weapon
Til they fall to the ground

Light, let there be light
Without a shadow of doubt
We will fight tooth and nail until
Salvation is found”

Viking Death March, Billy Talent

I usually write articles from a lens of anger, calling out harmful acts, telling allies who aren’t being screwed over things that I feel are wrong and that I see them if they keep doing them.

This isn’t that.

This time I want to call to my fellow strugglers.

I know you’re suffering and every day is a new barrage of darkness.

I know the world is crushing you and hates you for what you are.

You may feel powerless, unable to do anything.

But you’re more powerful than you know.

No you can’t stop Trump on your own, can’t somehow control his cabinet and Congress with a wave of your hand.

But under a regime that wants us gone, who is seeking to pass the AHCA that is pretty much designed to kill us (I explained how it’s not a stretch to say that it’s meant to kill us and is genocide in Pick a side), when the Nazis want us gone, our fight to exist is an act of great power itself.

You might think that you are unimportant and don’t deserve to be heard.

No matter what has been ingrained in your mind, you’re wrong, your fight is important and your voice and experience matter.

You’re reading my voice (probably) because of that, and I’m a 23 year old jobless college student. (trying to hopefully make money through his Patreon).

What makes us important is that we’re fighting against a system that wants us dead that people are accepting as normal, helped by a media which always focuses on the things that affect the majority over the issues that specifically harm us.

This has always been true, but now more than ever it’s needed.

In the face of this system which wants to crush us we need to stand up.

When the media and the majority will pretend that anything not affecting them isn’t happening we need to step up and speak out, become unable to be ignored.

We can’t let them control our narrative, not when so much more is at stake, not when it seems like each day our lives are more in danger.

This is your time to speak out. We need to raise our voices to cut through the noise, force people to realize it’s not alright, that we are suffering and won’t accept it.

Do what you can, take care of yourself, but act.

We may not have the money they do, the privilege they do, but we have things they don’t.

We vastly outnumber them, and while they have had everything given to them we have needed to fight every step of the way to simply exist.

We wouldn’t be alive if we weren’t able to fight. You might want to wait until a better time, but to quote a wonderful friend, It Doesn’t Get Better. You Do.

We have numbers but those numbers don’t matter if we let them keep us down.

Is this easy? No.

Is this a mindset that you’re a bad person if you can’t keep up all the time? Absolutely not, I feel sometimes like I’m barely clinging on.

Will we accomplish anything? I feel like we are taught to value big acts but in reality this is a fight in people’s minds, and thus every share every person who hears us is someone who has changed, and when you add that up it’s a lot…if you speak up.

Isn’t it difficult to start up a blog (if this is the type of speaking out you want to do)? My goal with this platform was to make it a place where any of our voices could be heard, I would only need your email and name to add you to this (message me at Garrett Winters and I can easily set you up with an account on here…this platform does have ads, when the balance gets to where the money actually will deposit I plan on dividing the revenue equally between writers…I can’t pay you per article but it would be something).

We need to fight no matter the difficulty, to get back on when we can, because the only alternative is to let them get what they want unhindered.

And when what they want is us dead, there’s no choice at all.