Me Too founder Tarana Burke tells Rihanna her biggest failure was not supporting her non-binary child

Vic Parsons January 23, 2020
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Tarana Burke says biggest failure was not supporting her non-binary child

Activist Tarana Burke in Los Angeles , December 2019. (JC Olivera/Getty)

Tarana Burke has told Rihanna that her biggest failure in life was not supporting her non-binary child when they came out to her.

Burke, a civil rights activist, community organiser and founder of the #MeToo movement, made the confession in an interview for a special issue of Dazed magazine co-curated by Rihanna.

Asked what her biggest failure in life is, Burke said that it was when she “did not respond well” to her daughter coming out to her as a young teenager.

“My daughter is queer and non-binary, and when they first came out to me at 12 or 13, I did not respond well,” Burke, who is the executive director of the Me Too Organisation, said.

“We’ve talked about it a lot, and I’ve apologised, but when I think about it now I still cringe. I was struggling at the time in my relationship with religion, and I let outside people influence my attitude to my child.

“I don’t have any shame in that – a lot of us come to understand things better, and fight for them and defend them, when we have a personal connection. So I’m grateful.

“All lives really do matter! All Black lives, all queer lives, all trans lives. How could I stand up and advocate for people’s survival if I couldn’t stand up for every kind of survivor? I told y’all, I love my baby!”

Tarana Burke, who helped kickstart a global conversation about sexual assault, also credited her child as being her biggest “personal or professional success”.

When she got pregnant at 23, a lot of people told her “you’re too young to have a child”. One person, Burke said, gave her an incredible piece of advice.

“They said: ‘The best thing you can do for the future of the Black community is to raise a Black child in the way that you would like to see the world look. That’s the best thing you can do for the world.’ And I’ve done that!”


Related topics: coming out, metoo, non-binary, Rihanna, tarana burke

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