Why This Bisexual Asian Woman is Marching

Elissa Ha, a bisexual member of the NYC Chapter of the Women’s March on Washington, shares with GO why she got involved and why she’ll be marching with thousands of other women this Saturday.

photo courtesy Elissa Ha

 “I got involved with the NYC Chapter of the Women’s March on Washington because I needed to do something, anything, instead of just feeling horribly about the outcome of the election. I’d previously interned and volunteered with groups like Raising Women’s Voices and Planned Parenthood but especially after graduating college, I mostly worked at my office job and tried to be a functioning human being that can pay her student loans. Throughout the election I started to really get that itch again, I think a lot of people get that feeling, it’s the same thing that pushes you over the edge and makes you engage with someone on Facebook. I know folks think FB activism is bullshit but it’s the beginning of something sometimes. The itch you can’t scratch in this case was just needing to be part of actually changing the bad things happening around us, instead of just complaining about it. I immediately wanted to get involved when I saw the details of the march start popping up and when I saw a call for volunteers, I jumped on it.“I hope that the March has a huge queer presence. Queer people, especially QWOC, are in real danger under the incoming administration. But that’s not really new to us, we’ve been fighting for equal protection under the law forever, and while the fight is far from over (and I can only imagine how tired some people may feel, how disheartened) we’re not going to stop demanding equal dignity as human beings.”

“There’s an effort to make sure QWOC are involved. I feel really strongly in the community of the volunteers I’m part of that I am included and that there is real thought being put into how to be as inclusive as possible. There can always be more done but we have had the restrictions of a really crazy schedule where we’ve just had to execute constantly. I think the most important thing will be keeping up momentum after the march, taking all of the community organizing and huge numbers of people we’ve brought together so that we can continue to act. During that time, I am especially excited to see what can happen when there isn’t just nine weeks to put together a national event. How do we continue to engage people, and engage them in more ways than we were able to while planning the March itself. How do we not only engage but activate opportunities for people who have historic disadvantages to participate in ways that are feasible and realistic based upon their lives?”

“I think that people have very personal reasons for why they participate in these debates. I can’t say that my reasons are exactly the same reason why someone else protests or is an activist though there are undoubtedly similarities in many of these motivations. For me, I think we are entering really dangerous territory with the incoming administration, and equal protection, safety, rights — these aren’t things given away. We have to demand them, we have to say what we want and take real steps to achieving that goal. I wish that it was just a given that we deserved these things. Those clinging to the white archaic hegemony want us to think we don’t have power, and when we begin to believe them, that’s when it becomes true. But we do have power, and we will make our voices heard, and I know that I am walking to make sure anyone that wants their voice heard has an opportunity to do so.”

“QWOC need to be part of this conversation. We need to force our way into all the policy making, activism, everything — because no one can speak to our lived experiences and foster change that will benefit us better than ourselves.”