I am a handmaid...
I participated in the recent protest of SB66 – the “Fetal Personhood” bill – at the New Hampshire State House as a Handmaid, fully cloaked and winged. I’m also a man.
Local conservative media had a field day with the protest, but even more so with my participation. People have since asked me why I did it, or why it was important to me, especially in the face of all the hatred now directed at me. When people ask about any facet of my activism, this protest included, I always refer to a poem written by Martin Niemöller in the aftermath of the Holocaust:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
This piece entirely encapsulates exactly why I feel drawn to action – including donning the cape with the other Handmaids for SB66. When one group or minority is allowed to become the proverbial “other” and to be persecuted, even by one of their own, other groups are always short to follow. People always wonder how the atrocities committed by the Nazis were allowed to happen, and it was exactly this kind of groupthink that lead to it. One group was demonized, had their rights obliterated, and in some cases even internalized this hatred toward the self, and others soon followed. Regrettably, the rest is history.
I personally will not stand idly by while anyone - women, LGBTQ, religious minorities, People of Color, etc - have their rights and personhood systematically rolled back and trampled on simply because they live in America and are not straight white cisgender Christian males.
With one come others. When one of us loses, we all lose. Today more than ever, it is vital that we support each other, regardless of how our lives or identities intersect. It is vital that we resist.