stop talking and start listening

stop! talk on tolerant people™ (sadly often known as privilege denying people) and what you can do when someone tells you that you are being (hetero- and/or cis-)sexist or racist.

Of course there is a qualitative difference between being an out-in-the-open racist or cis-sexist and being a tolerant person™ who supposedly does not judge or question other people’s personal decisions and self-conceptions and identities, but the effects of privileged behaviour are basically the same. You and I still discriminate and are still assholes, no matter if we define ourselves as explicitly anti-sexist or anti-racist or anti-cis-sexist. If people who are discriminated against tell you that you are behaving like an asshole, then you are. Period. No discussion needed. Denying your discriminatory behaviour does not improve anything. Whining about how evil all these people are against you does not improve anything. Here’s what helps: stop making it all about you. Stop telling other people what they should really be thinking or feeling, and why they’re wrong if they say you’re discriminating against them. Stop being defensive, and, you know, actually, stop talking. Listen. No, really, listen.

how to help a friend through an abortion

jezebel has a nice article on how to support a friend in the process of deciding on or getting an abortion. here, i’ll summarize the main points and once in a while add a few things that i find important.

don’t assume!

if your friend has an unintended pregnancy, don’t assume that she’s going to keep it and/or that she’s (automatically) un/happy and/or that she’s already talked to her partner. just ask how she feels about it.

be helpful

if she chooses to terminate her pregnancy, help her with finding an abortion clinic and counseling (if needed). also, it’d be nice to offer your help as, for instance, a driver to the clinic, assistance for the doctor’s appointments, etc. you can collect potential helpful sources like websites, books & other friends who have had similar experiences. you can also think of getting her favorite foods in case she feels crappy after the abortion.

listen & talk

is she wants to talk about it, let her talk. if she doesn’t, find other topics. if she feels crappy, be supportive but don’t minimize her experience. if she’s ok, be happy with her but remain attentive. talk about your own experiences but don’t take up too much space. important: don’t act as if her situation was extraordinary or something like a secret – lots of women have abortions.