09/29/2015 02:10 pm ET

How To Make Social Justice Movements Less Judgy, And More Welcoming

"At our worst, social justice culture is basically a rehash of high school."
Paul Taylor via Getty Images

In my first year of college, I stopped calling myself an activist.

It took attending just a few meetings of the campus queer group for me to realize that I didn’t fit in with everyone else. Despite that the fact that I was definitely queer –- a pre-transition trans woman at the time –- I could tell immediately that I wasn’t “queer enough” to fight for social justice alongside these university-educated revolutionaries who spoke with such confidence and rolled their eyes every time I opened my mouth.

I didn’t know what “trigger warnings” or “intersectional systemic oppression” were. I didn’t dress in ripped denim and black leather, or have a colorfully dyed, asymmetrical haircut.  I wasn’t white, like most of the people in the room. I didn’t even know who this “Judith Butler” person that everyone seemed to love so much was.

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