Wow! I only have 65 more days of this experience. It has gone by so quickly. Well, some moments anyway. At any rate, let’s get on with it.
So tonight my biz partner asked if it would be okay if someone joined our 4-week online intensive program in February. He’s a gay, Black male who is going through some stuff and needs support. My instant reaction was, “Uh, no.” But then I had to take a step back and make sure that I was not doing my usual knee jerk reaction of saying no, and after a brief online chat, I told her I would revisit how I felt about it tonight and get back to her tomorrow about it.
And after careful consideration, my answer is still no. Here’s why. Our group is a safe space for women and although he’s “super, super gay,” whatever the fuck that means, he’s not a woman. Although he needs support, our first commitment is to our group, who needs support. And if the facilitators don’t keep the space safe, meaning a place where women can feel vulnerable and not judged and free to express themselves without fear of being undermined or excoriated because they are women, then we are not doing our jobs properly and have failed our customers. But my biz partner is just concerned about his feelings. I too am concerned about his feelings and genuinely hope he gets the support he so desperately needs. However, this group is not it. He doesn’t fit, and there’s no mutual benefit.
She says my response is fear-based, but I call bullshit. If you mean I’m afraid that we’re diluting our brand and product and failing on our marketing promise and concerned for the welfare of the tribe, then yep. But if she’s throwing that out as some sort of diversionary tactic to throw me off my game, I’m not here for that shit. Also, she has a tendency to cater to and defer to men, and it just feels like she thinks she can get away with it because he’s gay. I’m not here for that either.
As a gay person of color myself, I think she thought I would have the most compassion for him. I do, honestly, as I know what it’s like to walk around in that reality in this day and age, but my compassion for him does not outweigh my commitment to the group. So I’m not budging. It’s that simple.
So my answer still stands, but I’m proud of myself for taking a beat to assess how I’m using my voice so I’m careful not to just be strident and have no real basis for it. I feel perturbed that we even have to have this conversation, but I know it’s good practice for me in learning how to really use my voice in a compassionate and effective way.
Look out 2018. Things are changing already.