Recently, sex educator Charlie Glickman wrote that he does not want to be called a feminist.

“Before I talk about why I don’t call myself a feminist, I want to be very clear that it’s not because I think feminism is anything other than awesome, he explains,  I owe more to feminism and to feminist women than I can possibly describe.”

This isn’t the misinformed “I’m not a feminist because of XYZ unflattering stereotypes that abound about feminists” argument I often hear. Charlie Glickman understand feminism as I understand it. Well…he actually understands it a hell of a lot of better than I do.

So why isn’t Charlie a feminist?

Mr. Glickman writes about how wary of the praise and admiration he sometimes gets for being a man who upholds feminist principles. He doesn’t want to be categorized as one of the “good guys” just because he believes that women are people.

As soon as I start thinking that I’m somehow different or better than “those guys,” it becomes easy to take that for granted and stop working on it, which makes it much more likely to backslide. I think that the best way to challenge my internalized privilege is with humility, and that’s hard to do when I start believing that I’m somehow better than someone else. Arrogance is hardly conducive to living with integrity.

He makes some other compelling arguments, but this one in particular really hit me where I live and got me thinking about my own privilege and arrogance as a queer-ally.

Because as repellent as I find arrogance in other people, I can really be up my own butt sometimes. I’m guilty of quietly congratulating myself on being SO enlightened, SO informed, SO refreshingly inclusive. Guess what, everybody? I think queer-folk are people!

Careful…I’m tender from all the back-patting I’ve been doing.

Charlie Glickman’s introspective helped me realize that my self-congratulatory moments are a little obnoxious and also counter-productive.

It’s only recently that I was even made aware that I had things like straight or cis-gendered privilege.  Over time and through experience, my world-view has expanded a bit, particularly in years since I started working in sex ed. But I’m still relatively green. I’ve still got a trunkload of heteronormative baggage, which is probably hitched to a trailer full of baggage that I’m not even aware of yet.

I gots lots mo’ lessonz to learn, yo!

In regards to feminism Charlie also writes:

One way that I try to avoid the temptation to become arrogant is by not using a label that can make me think that I’m somehow better or different from other men. It also helps me find some fierce compassion for them, which I think is an essential part of challenging and changing our ideas about gender roles, because I don’t see them in a separate category from myself.

I like Charlie Glickman SO much!

Again I had to check myself.  Sometimes I forget and leave my compassion at home. I’ve been that person in a discussion with a friend or a family member thinking ‘You are SO mired in your heteronormative worldview’. Except…I get mired in my heteronormative worldview sometimes. Anyone can tangled in their own perspective. And 4 out 5 dentists agree that compassion is more effective than judgement!

I’m not writing this to beat myself up. I just realize that I have some stuff to work on, if I’m committed to:

a) Being the change I want to see in world

which means

b) Being a good ally

Which I can do if I put a little more Glickman into it.

The change I want to see in the world will require a shit ton of work; therefore, so will the changes in me. I’m writing to remind myself that  I’ve really only just started learning, that I make mistakes and that my work continues.

I learn best by example. Charlie Glickman is not a feminist but he’s given me a great example of how to be ally with compassion, humility and integrity.