Inclusivity in the skateboarding community is something that I want to highlight through this initiative as it is extremely important for our collective mental health. The following inclusions are close to my heart as I identify with these communities, these are just my individual acknowledgments and it is meant to express my thoughts with the intention of conveying what the MNSTR Skate Initiative believes in: individuality, living in harmony, compassion, and greater understanding of our peers.
The MNSTR Skate Initiative welcomes, values, and celebrates 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals within the skateboarding community and beyond. MNSTR firmly denounces all forms of homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, and other forms of oppression that negatively impact the 2SLGBTQIA+ community. We recognize that resisting and dismantling cis-heteronormativity requires ongoing unlearning and intentional actions. Together we can all work towards inclusivity.
2SLGBTQIA+ is an acronym that stands for Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, and additional sexual orientations + gender identities.
DIVERSITY AMONG 2SLGBTQIA+ PEOPLE
It is important to acknowledge that 2SLGBTQIA+ people are not a homogenous population. Each group in the acronym has unique health needs and experiences, and groups are not mutually exclusive, for example... someone may be both transgender and gay. Sexuality, gender, and intersex variation can intersect – along with other aspects of a person’s identity such as their age, cultural background, neurodiversity, and where they live – calling forth unique health needs and mental health experiences for everyone. Common health impacts can be seen across 2SLGBTQIA+ people, especially when considering the effects of stigma + discrimination on mental health along with well-being, and healthcare access + experiences.
HOW DOES ONE ALLY? Being an ally of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community requires action, visibility, & reflection. Allyship is an ongoing work in progress - and it's an inside job.
avoid assumptions about sexual or gender identity
recognize your privileges and internalized biases
ask which pronouns a person would prefer
acknowledge the intersectional aspects of race, class, and religion and understand how that can impact an individual's ability to "come out."
consider the individual’s safety - please never out someone
question or call out homophobic rhetoric, commentary, and humor
use gender-inclusive terms: “Hey friends” or “Good afternoon to all”
resist the urge to encourage an individual to come out before they're ready as there might be factors that you don't understand
Do study 2SLGBTQIA+ history before attending Pride events as understanding context is essential when you are a guest in queer spaces.
THE BIPOC COMMUNITY
The MNSTR Skate Initiative aims to recognize that power relationships exist and to be mindful of how racism can take on many forms in blatant and subtle ways. We want to put in the work so that we can together create spaces that are: welcoming, empowering, representative, and committed to racial equity for all individuals who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC). Altogether we can promote racial harmony through social interactions, education, actions, content, and create more awareness in our communities.
DEFINITION: BIPOC stands for Black, Indigenous, and people of color. Pronounced “bye-pock,” this is a term specific to the United States, intended to center the experiences of Black and Indigenous groups and demonstrate solidarity between communities of color.
WHY: The term “BIPOC” is more descriptive than people of color or POC. It acknowledges that people of color face varying types of discrimination and prejudice. Additionally, it emphasizes that systemic racism continues to oppress, invalidate, and deeply affect the lives of Black and Indigenous people in ways other people of color may not necessarily experience. Lastly and significantly, Black and Indigenous individuals and communities still bear the impact of slavery and genocide. BIPOC aims to bring to center stage the specific violence, cultural erasure, and discrimination experienced by Black and Indigenous people. It reinforces the fact that not all people of color have the same experience, particularly when it comes to legislation and systemic oppression. Remember, there is no “one size fits all” language when it comes to talking about race. Language is crucial, but it isn’t the answer. The term BIPOC is simply a tool to frame a broader discussion for collective action on issues of race and gender in our community.
Excerpt from: YWCA website, accessed 10 August 2022, <https://www.ywcaworks.org/blogs/ywca/wed-04062022-0913/why-we-use-bipoc>
Racism is an ideology that either directly or indirectly asserts that one group is inherently superior to others. It can be openly expressed in racial jokes, slurs, or hate crimes but it can be deeply rooted in attitudes, values, and stereotypical beliefs as well. Some of these are unconsciously held beliefs that have become deeply embedded in systems and institutions over time. Racism operates at a number of levels, in particular, individual, systemic, and societal. (Ontario Human Rights Commission) The bigotry and hatred that we see today are the legacies of the past's brutal injustices. This type of prejudice against people of different backgrounds is either the result of a lack of understanding of where another person/group of people come from or inherited hatred/ignorance passed down through the generations. Having lived in various places throughout my lifetime, I've encountered racism on a variety of levels, some subtle, and some downright harsh (Refer to my bio). A person's mental health can be greatly affected by racial discrimination and prejudice. In the future, I will have more cultural awareness pages on topics such as cultural appropriation, Indigenous mental health, and many other matters.
HOW CAN WE CONTRIBUTE TO ANTI-RACISM?
1.) Accept that we have all been raised in a society that elevates white culture over other cultures. Being anti-racist will mean first challenging those notions inside yourself. This can be a good topic to journal on to let all your thoughts out and reflect on them.
2.) Learn the history of racism and anti-racism, especially in the North American continent, to educate yourself about the complexities of the issues you'll be confronting. Such as African-American history, the history of Indigenous people in this continent (Most importantly from their perspective), and racism towards Asian-Americans from early immigration to the recent AAPI tension in recent years. If you are located outside of North America, please learn the history of racism & anti-racism in your country/continent in addition to the history of racism in the North American continent.
3.) Seek out films and TV shows which will challenge your notions of race and culture, and dive deeply, learning to see anti-racism in new ways. Noteworthy shows: Dear White People, Reservation Dogs (FX), Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Gentefied, They've Gotta Have Us (Netflix), Kim's Convenience, BlacKkKlansman, Dark Winds (AMC), The Daily Show (Comedy Central), Harlem (Amazon Prime), Malcolm X (Spike Lee), Orange is the New Black, The Joy Luck Club, Uncomfortable Conversations with a black man, and Get Out (Jordan Peele) and to watch with the little ones... Spirit Rangers, Yo Gabba Gabba, and Sesame Street.
4.) Find local organizations involved in anti-racism efforts - preferably led by people of color - and help uplift their voices and ideas.
The above is an excerpt in bold from the article 'Not Racist' is not enough: Putting in the work to be anti-racist' by Eric Deggans, NPR. Along with additional thoughts and suggestions from me in italic. If you have a film or tv show to add to the list in point number 3, kindly drop me a message.
LOVE HAS NO LABELS
The website has a section called 'Learn how bias and inclusion impact: various racial/ethnic groups'. It has resources to learn more about the Asian + Pacific Islander (API) community, the black community, the Hispanic community, and Indigenous people. It's a straightforward and informative site to gain more knowledge surrounding the issues and history of various racial/ethnic groups in North America.
A resource guide was created on Tufts University's website with a great number of links covering self-care, mental health, 2SLGBTQIA+ spaces, communities of Black health sciences professionals, Spaces to be in Community with Other Indigenous Health Sciences Professionals...other topics covered on the link is 'Racialized violence against Asians' and 'Black Lives Matter'.
A blog entry on the Decolonial Clothing website written by Bee Millar shares her thoughts on ways to help our individual and collective journeys toward decolonization. The Decolonial Clothing blog has a number of educational entries about Indigenous history and perspectives.
Anti-racism resources presented in a variety of themes including 'Truth and Reconciliation & 'Decolonization and Indigenous Issues
A resource list of anti-racism in Skateboarding on the Good Push website
Facing History & Ourselves uses lessons of history to challenge people to stand up to bigotry and hate. It's an educational resource site intended for teachers + students but we can use these resources for personal education and for our communities.
If you have any sites that you'd like to share that are related to this topic, please do share them with me through the CONTACT page.
Neurodiversity refers to differences between human brains that affect sociability, learning, mood, attention, and other mental functions. It challenges the view that any deviation from the norm is pathological and a disability, instead suggesting that societal barriers are the main contributing factor that disables people. There's been a lot of talk and initiatives about inclusivity within the skateboarding in regards to the communities that I've mentioned above, and I have not seen one yet that highlights Neurodiverse inclusivity yet (If there is one I've missed please drop me a line!) which is a major topic for me as I'm neurodivergent through acquired experience. As I've mentioned earlier the importance to have an understanding of another person's life experiences and perspective, I aim to raise awareness for neurodiversity within the MNSTR Skate Initiative to promote more understanding and care for others within the skateboarding community (as well as outside this community). Kindly check out the Neurodiversity page to learn more about this movement and also this article share on Expanding the skater safe space to include neurodiversity.
AT MNSTR SKATE INITIATIVE, I PLEDGE TO:
Continue my learning, and understanding while having an open mind to what neurodiversity might mean on a societal level and for each individual that I interact with online and in person.
Have zero tolerance for behaviors that projects intolerance towards neurodiversity or neurodivergent individuals.
Raise awareness of neurodiversity in my discussions, website, social media accounts, and interactions with people.
Welcome feedback from others to enhance my neuro-inclusive content and communication.
That's my share on the topic of inclusivity... as a pansexual Southeast Asian female, I have faced countless prejudices and discrimination throughout my life (racism, sexism, xenophobia, classism, colorism, and homophobia) in different parts of the world where I've lived and traveled to. The treatment I received had different intensities of racism and sexism, the areas in which I experience intolerance the most. These experiences have collectively contributed to my C-PTSD. Growing up, I was taught a narrow-minded perspective of the world through a religious lens which never felt right with me so I always questioned it and my 'disobedience' led me to be punished more for vocalizing my thoughts. The constant narcissistic abuse I received from that parent was extremely stressful which made me feel isolated and lost about who I was. I was a young individual who believed in equality and treating others with respect for all regardless of their aesthetic, background, situation, etc... and it's still my POV today. I actively address these topics when they arise in discussions and through experiences. I aim to keep pushing for equality in whatever spaces I occupy within and outside of the skateboarding community. Thanks for reading this page and please check out the Womxn in skateboarding page next which was initially under this Inclusivity page but I wanted to dedicate a whole page for these non-traditional skaters.
If you have any thoughts or questions about this page, feel free to contact me on the CONTACT page with the subject line: Inclusivity
READ ON FOR THE HISTORY OF NON-TRADITIONAL SKATERS + MORE