A statement from Bandilang Itim.
Silence is not golden
Some among us in Bandilang Itim are men who are cisgender and/or heterosexual. As cis/het men in Bandilang Itim who are raised with the privilege of being men, we are not experts on gender or queer issues nor have experience as women or queer. This ought not mean we stay silent on the issues that confront our sisters and queer siblings. As Adrienne Onday declares in her important piece, “Wrath Over Pride: A call-out post to ‘radical’ cis (het) men and their inadequacy in gender struggles,” “[Y]our silence is violence to us.” Our silence is violence to those struggling against gender-based oppression. We have people we love—partners, family, comrades, and friends—who are queer or who are women, and we owe it to them to speak against cisheteronormative discrimination and patriarchal practices that persist in our milieus and in our spaces. Queer people and women are angry that they still experience discrimination, infantilization, and oppression within our spaces. They are tired that they are consistently alone when they speak out against their own oppression. Not having queer experiences is not a reason for staying silent. If we do not have these experiences or expertise, we then ought to defer to the experiences of queer people and women. The issue of silence, censorship, or ignorance of women or queer issues is also a violence itself. When we are silent we are accomplices to the violence of the patriarchal system and the intricate network of oppression. We must join women and queer people and speak out for and with them especially in situations and spaces where they may not be able to speak for themselves.