Take Back the Night, an annual event organized by SACHA, is a powerful opportunity for survivors and their supporters to actively build connections, assertively reclaim our right to safety, and courageously stand up against violence.
Chris “Parking Lot” Harrison has been a resident of the Hamilton and Burlington area for the past 28 years. As a Women’s Flat Track Derby Association dual certified official affiliated with the Hammer City Roller Girls and formerly with Toronto Roller Derby, he workeswith strong independent people who genuinely care about the community and actively work to improve it for all residents. In the past 7 years of roller derby he’s reached a broad global cross section of people and learn about the issues around gender identity. These are issues that impact every aspect of the world in different ways. It is his hope to help take steps to rectify this imbalance.
Why do you think it is important to create space for women and gender non-conforming folks?
This is an interesting question, I believe it is a basic right to safety. It does not matter what you identity is, you have the right to live a safe and fair life. We need to create a space to support and educate people while we change the society as a whole. Every single person has the responsibility to help make our world a better place for everyone in it.
What do you think male allies can do to create more space for women and gender non-conforming folks?
The biggest thing we can do is listen. Growing up in Burlington I did not have a lot of exposure to these issues, they were just not part of my life. Until the unfortunate events in the 90s where we had a school shooting, abductions, and murders; my safe little city was changed and so was my awareness. As I grew older is started to hear about pink tax, wage gap, rape culture, and LGTBQA struggles. I decided to listen to these people and figure out what i can do to help them get the basic rights of life that i was born into. It’s not my job to say what is unfair but it is my job to help make it fair when it is identified but the oppressed.
What do you think male allies can do to end gendered violence?
Speak up when you are told that something is happening. If you are a witness it is your job to intervene, same as if you see any other unfair act of violence. Stop concerning yourself with another persons gender and listen when they express it with out judgement.
What inspires/motivates you to be a male ally?
My biggest motivations are the people in my life. I should be no more concerned about my niece going out to a friends than my nephew. My friends should feel free to tell me how they identify and understand that I will defend their choice. If everyone did this then we would be on our way to true equality