I was checking the social media statistics for Nevertheless She Preached when I noticed something: 11% of our Facebook followers are men.
On the one hand, I suppose it isn’t a surprise that men aren’t flocking to be a part of an organization called Nevertheless SHE Preached (NSP), and it also isn’t a surprise that women are.
As a queer female clergy person, I know how incredibly rare these sorts of spaces are for women and other marginalized populations, and I know how much my affirmation-and-comradery-starved soul needs time with my people.
It’s one of the main reasons I helped found NSP — to help fill the huge gaping vacuum of support women face each and every day.
On the other hand, our mission is stated this way: “NSP exists to empower all people to dismantle patriarchal structures by elevating voices of faith leaders on the margins, especially womxn and sexual minorities of all racial and ethnic backgrounds.”
The dismantling of patriarchal structures is by no means “women’s work.” It’s human work.
I wonder: Why aren’t progressive, self-aware men jumping at the chance to learn from an organization that consistently centers the voices of the marginalized?
Maybe at first glance men don’t realize that NSP is for them too.
I suspect, on a deeper level, there is some discomfort for men to get involved in what appears to be a woman’s organization. To which I want to say: “Isn’t discomfort what all meaningful transformation requires?’
“Nevertheless she persisted” was a huge rallying cry for women in 2017 when our organization was formed. I’m wondering, though, about the men and those of us with other forms of privilege, such as whiteness or able bodies.
What would it look like to take up the mantle of “despite our discomfort, nevertheless we listened.” Not as a point of pride, but as a mantra to guide us in and through the pain rather than around it. To guide us through towards transformation.
After I came out to my family as queer, my dad wrote me a tome about the errors of my ways. He had the brazenness to title it, “Nevertheless He Preached,” which I believe is the only acknowledgment I’ve ever received from him that I co-founded a non-profit.
Look, I love my dad. But that doesn’t make the persistence of his male arrogance any less painful. In fact, it probably makes it more so. I’m his daughter, which means I want him to see me so badly, but he can’t, because: patriarchy.
Guys out there who are taking the time to read this article: the wound is real. Patriarchy harms us every day. By “us,” I mean you too.
Patriarchy harms us — female, male, and everyone between or beyond the binary. Sometimes it harms men so badly they can’t even be proud of their babies once they grow up to be women. We are all being harmed, and it will take all of us to get ourselves healed.
For women and other marginalized folx, that often looks like preaching and persisting, no matter who tries to silence us. For men — especially white, straight, cisgender ones — I think that often looks like listening.
And so, I wonder, dear men: “How deeply and how often have you listened? Stopped talking, stopped performing, stopped writing and preaching and just listened?”
We women and non-binary folx actually have some pretty important stuff to say. But don’t just take my word for it. Come and listen for yourself.
Editor’s note: NSP 2021 will take place virtually from Sept. 19-21, 2021. This year’s theme is “Embrace Healing. Embody Hope,” and the featured speakers include Alicia Reyes-Barriéntez, Valerie Bridgeman, Kaitlin B. Curtice, Lindsey Jodrey, Kathy Khang, Jennifer Owens-Jofré, Kyndall Rae Rothaus, Irie Session and Angela Yarber. Registration is required. Additional information is available here.