I think it’s important to point out an obvious thing: Both these things are related.
My body is mine. Your body is yours. These two statements are at the core of almost every strong political opinion I hold. Equality and respect for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, gender presentation, body size, kink, skin color, religion, class and a bunch of other stuff I’m forgetting absolutely hinges on bodily autonomy. A cultural, fundamental belief that each of us can do as we wish with our own bodies, so long as we are not hurting anyone else in the process, is 100% vital to a truly progressive, respectful culture.
You can’t have marriage equality without a fundamental, cultural belief that who you have sex with doesn’t matter. You can’t have strong support for abortion rights without everyone on board with the idea that pregnant people have the right to determine where and when they give birth. You can’t have decent safety and support nets for trans folks without the fundamental, cultural belief that how you dress/identify/what pronoun you use is a part of how you treat yourself and is therefore not anyone else’s business. You can’t have a real discussion about health for all people without the belief that some people are fat and some people are thin and some people are disabled and all those people are worth supporting in a culture that promotes real paths to health, rather than just thinness.
So bodily autonomy is, to me, the thread that holds all my other beliefs together.
I think it’s important to state that and to ask all of you reading this to stop and think about what true bodily autonomy would look like in the U.S., both in terms of a cultural acceptance of the concept of real bodily autonomy and in terms of laws we make that subvert true bodily autonomy. What does drug policy look like in that world? Are trans folks less afraid of being murdered simply for being who they are? Are the logistics of pregnancy different? How do social nets change?
It’s an entirely different world, is it not? I think it’s a good world, a better world, a world worth fighting for.
It’s not like I can just fight to introduce a bill in my state legislature that would “grant true bodily autonomy.” This is a fight that takes place on all the levels I mentioned above. Reproductive rights is where it gets cited the most, but there is so much overlap between reproductive justice and fat activism, for example. And I see so much overlap between fat activism and trans rights activism (even though, I will state that fat people are mostly fighting for respect while trans people are very often fighting for survival and I don’t want to minimize that). I see overlap between the rights of pregnant women and the fight to allow terminally ill patients to end their lives in how hospitals restrict bodily autonomy.
So I always keep the idea of that world, where each person has the expected right to full bodily autonomy where it harms no one else, in mind, whenever I think about my overarching political philosophy.
I don’t just fight for abortions on demand, I fight for all people to be respected to know how best to deal with their own reproductive choices, even Lila Rose, who’d like to see abortion rights curtailed for everyone. But I fight for her, because some day she might be pregnant and want a vaginal birth after C-Section, and not be allowed to do that because the hospital is allowed to dictate that to pregnant people.
I don’t just fight for respect for fat people. I fight for all people to be respected to know how best to deal with their own mental and physical health. I fight so that the word care can be used in a proactive way by each person, so that every person can feel supported to stand up and say as I did in the post below, “well this is what I need to do to care for myself.”
I fight for the world where every body is respected because quite simply, it’s the world I want to live in and it’s the world I think kindest and most morally just.
What do you fight for?