Maybe even you.
To the undercover agents of change, the unseen activists and social shifters: thank you.
If you've ever been the first in your family to do something that deeply impacts the quality of your life, you're an activist. If you've ever been the first of your friends to change your language to better suit the respect due to humanity, to wear what you want, eat what you need or read books for the sake of their stories, you're an activist.
If you tell your story out loud—even the ugly parts, you're an activist.
If you have learned that sometimes shutting the fuck up and letting people express themselves without a shred of eloquence; encouraging people to stutter and ignore the en vogue terms that the most privileged of us love to make up and own [the same way our bodies and minds have historically been made up and owned], you're an activist.
If you've ever held the hand of a boi in a room full of men and known that whatever was happening to the egos swirling around you was powerful and possibly dangerous but you kept holding because that's what love is—that's what love does, you're an activist.
If being radical gets asses kicked around your way, so you just settle with being honest--that's real and that's activism.
If you, feminine as your wiles, feel every reason to publicly honor the sexuality that brands you a defector from the woman you're “supposed to be”; if you put love of bodies like yours on the forefront of your politics, never forgetting to never let people forget: you are what it looks like to be queer—you're an activist.
Understaning how flaunting fluidity can be as problematic as ignoring it; that coming out isn't a public service, it's a personal decision; speaking out is as powerful as looking at hatred in the eyes and making sure it knows to keep quiet. The real-life balance. You're an activist.
If after realizing that it has become okay to shame female-identified masculinity into androgyny, you have kept the roughness around your edges, the bass in your voice, the weight and loyalty to your pure butchness without apology, you're an activist.
The system benefits you but it does not benefit everyone. You who eats daily, who can call friends from a bed in a home in the throes of boredom, who have never actually been called a name, who fly home for holidays and take trips for the virtue of exploration—you who cruise through under and over grad programs, whiz past the papers and 'facts' that build up ebony towers (never quite ivory, but towers all the same),
all of us and you who seem to always be on the conducting end of research, the leader of action...if you understand how blessed your life is and seek less of its pitfalls while exalting it's possibilities, you are an activist.
If you give and spread your wealth into spaces and places who need it, doing so consciously and without guilt, you're an activist.
If you, queer body, don't limit yourself to the already-polished and refined corners of your community, if you're willing to show up where its too hot, gritty, a little inconvenient—because there is life budding in those spaces too, you're an activist.
If for you, terms and -isms don't apply because you are too busy working and living and providing to keep up with the latest in synonyms for 'being alive' and respect is all you seek and what you give,
who can ignore the noise of who's who in the scene cause the scene don't seem to see you anyway, focus on staying healthy and keeping the rent paid, you too are an activist.
There is always more work to do. There are always more systems to dismantle, more quos and quotas to challenge. Just as there are the bodies and voices who hurl themselves to the forefront in the great battle between Us and Them, there are people playing it back. People who understand liberation as being able to be, without being remarkable.
People who survive and make that revolutionary. You too.
Morgan is the Head Writer for BBH, check out her website here or follow her @momannwill.