The Toronto Rape Crisis Centre/Multicultural Women Against Rape needs to make a statement about gender and our position of various genders being included/centralized to the process of building and attending the community event of Take Back the Night.
While sexual violence impacts all of us, we understand that based on experiences of oppression, sexual violence will have different impacts for those who have experiences of oppression based on age, sexual identity, class, race, gender identity, family status, ability and faith-based beliefs (including all other forms of oppression).
Herstorically, the community planning committee of Take Back the Night, can be made up of people of all genders excluding cisgendered men. This would include cisgendered women identified people, trans women, gender queer people and trans men. Also herstorically, all genders were included in attending the event, except at the time of the march in where only women, trans women and children were asked to participate in the march.
The event itself claims space for all survivors of sexualized of violence (including survivors of interpersonal violence such as childhood sexual assault, sexual assault, rape and domestic violence and institutional violence such as racism, homophobia, ableism, etc). However we recognize that gender-based violence disproportionately affects women, trans people and children.
The TRCC/MWAR wants to co-create space with community members to claim space for all survivors of sexual violence. At the same time, as we recognize gender plays a role in (sexualized) violence and we want Take Back the Night to reflect this. We also understand that folks who may have experiences growing up socialized as one gender, then transitioning to another gender may also have experienced impacts of sexual violence that need to be recognized at the event.
All genders are welcomed to the Community Fair and Rally of Take Back the Night, including any and all activities at the event exterior to the march. We welcome all two-spirited people, genderqueer people, cisgendered women, trans women, trans men, youth and children to attend the march. We welcome cigendered men to stand at the outskirts of the march and support the cisgendered women, trans women, trans men, two-spirited people, genderqueer people, youth and children you see marching. We encourage trans men and gender queer folks to decide for yourselves whether or not to participate in the march.
**For 2013 – In an attempt to decolonize gender, we are inviting cisgender men to join in the march. **
At the TRCC/MWAR, we work with communities of survivors to reflect what is needed at Take Back the Night. We ask that communities of trans people to take up space at Take Back the Night and the anti-violence movement at large.
For two-spirited, genderqueer and/or trans people: We have trained marshals for the march and we ask marshals to not police people’s gender. That means, marshals are not instructed to talk to or remove anyone from the march without consulting with their squad leader. Marshals are instructed to not make decisions about marchers on their own, but look to squad leaders for direction, in situations where people are unsafe, being harassed, etc. Marshals are instructed to think about the safety of all marchers in their role of marshal.