The re-emergence of the #MeToo campaign and the reclamation of its inception by Just Be, Inc. founder and activist Tarana Burke speaks to a larger problem with the conversation on sexual harassment and violence. Some experiences are constantly prioritized while others are invisibilized due to identity. It’s no surprise that famous cisgender, heterosexual white women like Rose McGowan and Alyssa Milano have been able to spark a collective discussion on these issues in ways that a Black woman like Burke possibly never would have been able to.
Our society often doesn’t believe that the sexual violence that happens to folks who fall outside of the McGowan-Milano script is as important or worthy of discussion. There’s a continued obsession with cisgender white women’s purity that places their safety as the crux of these conversations.
I’ve often felt like I couldn’t discuss my experiences with sexual harassment and assault because I’ve witnessed the difficulty that even cisgender women face when they disclose. My transness, queerness, and Blackness render my claims even less believable in a society that views me as inherently deviant.