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  • Writer's pictureMary Byler

Born Amish

Edited by: The Anonymous Atheist Reviewed by various Joined in people. As I've been collaborating with more people in order to create, write, and discuss these issues, I've noticed some people seem to think that my voice should be weaponized to invalidate and/or shut down the voices of people not "born" Amish or Plain. Yes, I had the "privilege" of being "born Amish" . Does that mean that people who were not born into the Amish or Plain communities are not qualified, or even less qualified, to speak about issues within the culture? NO. In my opinion people that were not born Amish or Plain, but who became a part, either because their parents chose to join and raise them in it, or because they chose to join, face a unique set of issues within cultures and communities where they will NEVER be "quite enough". They will never reach the top of the ladder within the Plain community's caste system. They may not be considered "good enough" to marry those who were born in and came from Plain royalty. And when they join the Plain communities, they often must adhere to even more stringent rules than the rest of the community (e.g., what's acceptable for a born-in person to do is not allowed to be done by a "non-plain background" person ). Add to this the fact that "non-plain born" people may know that life doesn't have to be this "cultist", for they will carry their memories and experiences of the outside world with them. People will often silence them on the principle of they weren't born-in, so their voice about issues in the communities don't matter, or are somehow less-than. If I am the first person to tell you this, consider: trauma is trauma. My lived experience as a born-in person is different from that of someone not born-in, however, we can still have empathy, compassion, and hold shared space for each other's stories. We can collaborate and create content that will address the issues in a way that will reach Plain communities where they are. We can elevate each other's voices to bridge the gap between the culture and share our humanity to hopefully create lasting change for future generations of Plain people. Together…we can. Tell someone "joined in" that their perspectives and their stories are valid today. Be a part of the solution.

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