But first, an important reminder.
Bullying doesn’t just look like the classic movie image of kids beating on smaller kids.
It can look like the kind of discrimination that allows some people to rally to wear turquoise, but forget to make sure that gender neutral bathrooms are available at the venue so that no one has to feel afraid to pee or change into gear.
It can look like wearing a number on your calf, but not checking that the afterparty venue has a safe spaces policy, so that harassment and gender-policing can’t take place, and everyone gets to party and have fun together.
Or forgetting that in order to get to your tournament, some people have to build up the courage to take on the incredibly gendered and suspicious screenings that TSA implements. Or simply can’t risk the travel because the gender marker on their ID doesn’t ‘match’ their presentation, and there’s too much completely valid fear associated with that security check.
It can look like waiting for an actual incident that can’t be ignored to take place before changing policies or examine how safe the space you maintain is for people. And forgetting that a real person had to be impacted and have their relationship to themselves or other people or roller derby affected for that incident to take place, and that’s just not acceptable.
It can look like accepting that things are ‘just going to be hard’ for certain people, and not stepping up, and calling out the terrible assumptions that make that happen.
So if you #doitfor57, commit to changing everything about the way you do gender, encourage other people in their diverse range of performing gender, and care for those around you.
Write to your league board or leadership, and propose changes. Change the signs on the toilet. Put a ‘This is a safe space – Harassment will NOT be tolerated’ sign up at your venue, and commit to briefing security and grievance people to follow up on this.
And do it everyday. At every scrimmage. And every game.
Without fail. Because failing is failing the people we love in a fundamental way. And roller derby can be so much better than that. Your photos show us that.
And so, with a lump in our throats, and many varied feelings swimming inside us, we’ve collected the many ways that you #doitfor57.
Thank you, roller derby.
Silicone Valley Roller Girls
Port Macquarie Roller Derby League
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