How could I be afraid to stand in front of my own Parliament?

@LaMarquiseDeMe3 embraced the feeling of sisterhood at the Holyrood protest

It took me a while to decide to join the protest at the Scottish Parliament on September 2.

As a student in the 1980s, I did my fair share of protesting; staging sit-ins at Barclays Bank singing Free Nelson Mandela, standing outside Shell HQ on freezing Aberdeen mornings demanding they stop their involvement with apartheid South Africa.

I marched against Thatcher, against cuts to student loans and against the war in Iraq. So why was I so nervous about standing up for women’s rights?

I am a good bit older now with a job and a mortgage, people who depend on me financially. I tell myself I can’t afford to take risks and, unbelievable as it sounds, supporting women’s sex-based rights does seem risky in Scotland these days.

We’re accused of being transphobic, even though we support everyone’s right to live their lives as they please as long as they do no harm. We’re abused for being old, accused of being right-wing peddlers of hate.

Joyous feeling of sisterhood

Maybe I could just tweet a few comments from the safety of my couch instead and avoid the potential of angry counter-protestors.

But as I scrolled through my Twitter feed, I was confronted with images of women across the world risking their lives to defend their rights.

How could I possibly be afraid to stand in front of my own Parliament?

I found some fellow protestors to chum me down the High Street to Parliament where the atmosphere was overwhelmingly positive, full of laughter and solidarity. The feeling of sisterhood was joyous. We listened to passionate speeches and chanted good naturedly.

Speak up now – before it’s too late

I left absolutely buzzing and so glad I had made the effort to come. I saw some comments later that women like us weren’t real feminists, we obviously hadn’t read any “feminist literature”.

We don’t need to read about feminism, we live it every day through our bodies: from puberty to pregnancy, from worrying about missed periods to hot flushes, from gripping our keys tightly in our hands ready to defend ourselves as we walk home in the dark.

We live our feminism every day and that is something no man, however he identifies, will ever understand.

Standing with all those women who won’t wheesht was a fantastic experience.

I know now that we can’t afford to sit quietly by while our rights are rolled back. If, like me, you are nervous about getting involved, try to connect to other women in your area, online and in real life.

If you’re not ready to protest, write to your MSPs, councillors, schools and local newspapers. Have conversations with your friends and family.

We need to speak up now before it’s too late.

#WomenWontWheesht

#sexmatters

#no2selfID

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