“I Stand Alone, My Strength Unyielding…”

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Last night while running a show at the community art space I volunteer at in Baltimore, I was confronted with a situation that occurs often, yet goes not addressed: sexist comments passed off as “jokes.” During a band’s set the vocalist promoted merchandise by directing interested buyers to check out their table being manned by “that b*tch” over there (referring to his girlfriend). Yes, perhaps it was an inside joke no one else was privy to, but man, fuck that! I do not know about other people, but I would never, even in joking way, call my girlfriend, my jaan, such a thing. Upon hearing this comment a bunch of people, particularly female audience members, left the venue and approached me about how they felt uncomfortable. It was at this moment that I realized I had two choices, both potentially creating further conflict: let it go and risk being labeled an enabler; call someone out on their shit publicly and risk alienating people. Internally I knew the latter was what I had to do, and I went with it, but it still was nerve-wracking grabbing a mic and saying the space does not tolerate bigotry in any form. Needless to say, this situation was insightful in showing why maybe so many people do not “speak truth” to stuff they do not agree with publicly and remain quiet. Additionally, I realized that once I did it, people were thankful for me doing it, which was empowering and definitely makes me more comfortable doing it again if the need arises.

Salams for now.

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