January 25, 2017

Even though it’s been a few days since the Women’s March, I still get goosebumps every time I scroll through the photos on my phone from this past weekend. As a Canadian citizen living in Toronto, Canada, I debated whether or not to participate in the event. Not only did I have a long list of errands to run, but I also wanted to meet up with a couple friends. Needless to say, parading the streets of Toronto was not high on my to-do list. It wasn’t until early Saturday morning, while watching Season 1 of Mad Men and browsing my Instagram feed that I suddenly felt an urgent sense of purpose. 

It was the first time since the American election results—or really, the entire election—that I realized I had an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself.

As I watched my favorite TV show accurately portray women, especially the way they were treated in the 50’s, I couldn’t help but notice equally backward sentiments displayed throughout Instagram. Hurtful comments like “Don’t you have some ironing to do?” and “More dumb girls!” were posted on my favorite fashion blogger’s social media platforms after she shared an inspiring women’s march post.

Immediately following the incident, I decided to stop moping about the unfavorable circumstances. I am not helpless and my voice will be heard!

This past Saturday marked a day in history—not just in the United States, but worldwide. Approximately three million people came out in their local city to stand up against inequality. From Washington to New York, from Toronto all the way to Melbourne, men and women took a stance for what is right. And, for what’s its worth, we achieved a sense of unity together.

I appreciate and often seek healthy debate, but I have difficulty identifying whether people should even debate about this movement.

Truth be told, I’ve heard rather arguments that demand US citizens to “respect their new president because the march is setting women back.” And to that, I say respect should be both reciprocated and earned. It’s one thing to not attend the march (trust me, I know better than anyone how life commitments can get in the way), but to not agree with equal rights? That’s just something I can’t get my head around! Hasn’t the US been divided enough during and post election? Shouldn’t there be some basic common ground?

As I marched down University Avenue in Toronto, all while refreshing my Instagram feed to see the inspiring photos shared across the world, I reflected on why I had a stake in the issue. Will my marching disrespect Trump? No, he isn’t my president. Did I march because I felt marginalized for being a minority? No, I’ve lived an incredibly fortunate life in comparison.

I marched for my patients—the ones who see me regularly because they’ve been treated as less than human for being transgender or homosexual. I marched for the women who was raped when no one believed her. I marched for the young girl who got pregnant at 15. I marched for everyone, regardless who they are or where they’re from.

The Women’s March wasn’t a march against Trump. It was a march of solidarity for everyone else. For once, this wasn’t about the President, it was about standing up for what’s right!

Editor’s note: TheLoDown is and will remain a platform for strong, independent women to voice their opinions. If you’d like to submit an article for consideration, please send it to paula@thelodown.com.