Inclusivity for the win!

Last week was an exciting time for those advocating for equality and in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBTQ) community. Recent supreme court decisions have reflected an important step for LGBTQ rights, and there is still a long road ahead. 
 
NSVRC and our partners at the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape recently made a video celebrating inclusivity and honoring the LGBTQ community in our work. A very brilliant member of our team did a great job of capturing how essential inclusivity is to our work in the statement: “Ending sexual violence is truly connected to ending all oppression and inequality.” 
 
 
Yes, all oppression is connected, and ending rape culture means creating a culture of healthy sexuality. There are some beautiful intersections between inclusivity, healthy sexuality and social change. Healthy sexuality affirms of all gender identities, sexual orientations, and ways of expression.  Healthy sexuality challenges gender norms that play into unequal roles, stereotypes and bulling. Healthy sexuality affirms diverse modes of expression and being rather than defining a norm. 
 
This vision for change excites me, and the recent supreme court decision supporting LGBTQ rights reminds me that, although it may seem slow, change does happen. Even in my brief lifetime there have been milestones on the road to social justice and more doors have opened. Just as it is invaluable for to us to celebrate these successes in the landscape of social change, it’s important that we don’t forget the doors that are still closed and the many real barriers in our society even as it progresses. In this same span of time, supreme court rulings have also limited tribal soveriegnty and voting rights for people of color. The are still too many barriers tied to individuals and communities because of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, language, level of ability, income, age and many other axes of oppression. 
 
These conversations about widening the circle of inclusion in our work are powerful and challenging, but it’s our only route to the “ending ALL oppression” piece in our vision for a future free from sexual violence. It has me wondering how you go about including and affirming diverse voices? How do you challenge oppression or privilege in your work? How are you an ally to communities and individuals who face barriers? How would you like to see your community or voice supported by others?
 
This work is happening in our movement and world, and we need to be discussing, sharing and promoting these efforts. In keeping with this line of thought, I wanted to share information about a report NSVRC is releasing this week. The release of the community needs assessment report marks an exciting time in our movement’s work to better support Latin@ and culturally specific communities. The report details advocates’ needs related to sexual violence in Latin@ communities and discusses the barriers often faced by Latin@ survivors and organizations who serve them. If you are working in the anti-sexual violence movement and believe that working to end all oppression is in your job description this tool is a great resource to learn more about broadening our work. 
 
Share your vision for greater inclusivity in sexual violence prevention work in a comment below. What do you think is a barrier that needs to be addressed?