An Open Letter to Allies

Tuesday, December 19, 2017
By: 
Kochava Lilit

Ally means partner, or so I’ve heard. Someone who cares, who'll be there when the walls fall down. Ally is an action, an alliance you build, not something you identify as. Ally is meant to mean something, like a marriage, because that's how marriage started too.

But I have been rereading our ketubah and you have twisted too many clauses. Your obligation to satisfy has become my obligation to always be satisfied. Protections have become prisons in your hands. You have promised to love me in sickness and health, as long as both sickness and health are indistinguishably convenient.

Ally means partner, and I am breaking up with you. This is your writ of divorce. I am serving you a get. You are free to go.

This will not be an amicable separation. I am  burning down the house, you built too many closets in it. I am leaving as much space for you in my life as there is for wheelchairs in an UBER. I will soften and translate my speech to not offend you as often as you bothered to use captions.

I have been collecting evidence for this separation, and it is a personal fuck you to every queer event in an inaccessible venue, every accessibility training that didn't bother mentioning neurodiversity, to the disabled friend who insisted my assistive device was just a comfort object, to anyone who says gay community, gay marriage, gay rights, then asks where all the bi, ace, and trans people are.
To everyone who talks about lateral aggression, then says people of colour can't be antisemitic, as if oppression only counts when you recognise us; and to every white goy who has torn at this tension to find enough space to hide their own guilt. To every ally who spends more time taking up our space, than making the space you already have inclusive...

I'm not breaking up with every ally. Just the ones feeling particularly defensive right now. Just the ones who couldn’t get through these 600 words before starting to write their own rebuttal, because you know you don’t need to hear me to know you don’t think I have the right to speak. Just the ones getting ready to tell me we can't criticise allies too much, because we might alienate them.

As if you could ever be an alien here. You are the white noise behind every channel, the blank background every story is written on. Your holiday music has been playing for the last three months. Every building is built for you, every show looks like you, every law is written by people like you.

You want to know where the straight pride parade is? It's the line of teenagers walking into their school dance without fear in every high school. Our student union doesn’t have dedicated men’s representatives because the male representatives have all been fast  tracked to Canberra. We don't have cisgender history month, because it's just called history for you. Because gender studies and ethnic studies are electives for you, and a survival class for us. My history is part of me. From Sinai and Stonewall, my heritage enters every room with me. I have inherited this megaphone throat and steel-rod spine, they are brilliant obligations.

These stories are no longer about you. They’re about the queer Jews who occupied border force to stand in solidarity with refugees. They’re about the trans people who took to the streets to defend sex workers, and the sex workers who show up time and again to fight for trans people. They’re about every cripple, queer, mad person, and freak who shows up at the rallies, or the ballot box, or someone else’s home when they just need someone to say “I hear you.” Our communities have never been about you, and neither am I.

About Kochava Lilit

Kochava Lilit is a queer and disability rights activist who absolutely loves being autistic, ADHD, and Jewish. Their culture and heritage is an inextricable part of their writing and activism.
Kochava has performed at the Melbourne Writers' Festival, spoken about queer rights and culture at the United Nations, and can be found at queerjewishcrip.com and on Twitter as @AutisticLilit
 

About Quippings Disability Unleashed

This commission is the second in 2017 from members of The Quippings Disability Unleashed Theatre Troupe.

Quippings is a unique six year old inclusive spoken word performance troupe based in Melbourne. Part cabaret, part wordfest, the Quippings crew has staged a number of public performances over the past few years with performers who all identify as disabled and/or deaf and queer/queer friendly.

Look out for their Midsumma Show in January.

Credits

This commission was supported by the Australia Council for the Arts.

The Write-ability program is a partnership between Writers Victoria and Arts Access Victoria made possible by the generous support of the  Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation and Grace Marion Wilson Trust.

 

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