Step Up, Step Up
September 8, 2008
Or: How Step up/Step back is (trans) misogynistic, racist, and otherwise oppressive.
In a conversation with a facilitator, frequently one of the ground rules is “step up/step back”–if you normally speak a lot, speak less; if you normally don’t talk, speak more.
value erase listening. Listening is more than not-talking, and it’s an important thing to challenge everyone to do. More than anything, what really makes oppressed voices heard is a commitment to listening.
2)It’s my job, as the facilitator, to make sure everyone’s voice gets heard–not your job to shut yourself up and make yourself as small as possible. Keep your comments short and to-the-point, be aware of the people around you, and I’ll make sure everyone’s voice gets heard. If I’m a decent facilitator, I know how to take slanting stacks.
Everyone’s voice is valuable, and telling some people “you take up too much space–you know who you are” only furthers misogynistic, in particular trans misogynistic, oppression, and likely most other oppressions too.
This breaks down slightly in conversations small enough where no stack or facilitation is necessary, but it’s still the case that the focus needs to be on valuing everyone’s voices, not on devaluing *certain* people’s voices… if everyone tries to put hirself in the role of facilitator and making sure everyone gets heard, that’s what will get people’s voice heard.