You know what no longer insults me?

“You’re just voting for her because she’s a woman.” Always said with a hint of sneer. Like I’m casting a vote for a crackhead or a tube of lipstick. It’s worth noting that right now we have a feisty young female former bartender making more sense than half of the seasoned law makers in Washington, D.C.

I’m here to share that I have made a personal shift around gender that feels transformative.

Consider these scenarios from my past:

~ Co-worker back in the 1990s upon finding out I didn’t cast a vote for Christie Whitman for governor of New Jersey: “Wow, you won’t even cross party lines to vote for a woman?”

~ Family member in 2017 upon hearing I had my vote for Hoboken mayor narrowed down (in a field of four) to a Democratic male and a Republican female: “Wow, you’d consider a Republican? It’s because it’s a woman, right?”

~ Near constant refrain from Trump supporters in 2016 leading up to the Presidential election: “You’re just voting for Hillary because she’s a woman.”

These made me bristle. Never mind that in many cases they were the ones casting votes based on gender. Have you ever seen scores of men show their mommy issues like they did in 2016? Lordy. And that doesn’t begin to touch the bloc of white women squarely behind the pussy grabber. Isn’t he irresistible when he smirks and tells it like it is? Oh, Donald, tell me what to do.

You might have thought all of that dim-witted hogwash would bring me to the place I’ve now reached with regard to voting, but sadly that wasn’t my tipping point. The abortion bans rippling through our states and the obvious coordinated effort to make that happen have moved me off entrenched stances and my admitted massive fear of patriarchal backlash. I am now unequivocally saying this:

Yes, I will vote for a qualified candidate because she’s female.

I mean that forcefully. I have had a switch in mindset. Enough with trusting our lives to even the most well-meaning men running our government as the majority. Enough. They’re not getting it done.

But let’s bring this to a level of reasoning. Isn’t it asking an awful lot that men understand and embody the full human female experience when they’re creating laws? How could they? Why should they? They’re not women.

There are plenty of things men and woman can agree on, right? Our principles and core values, justice, truth, empathy. However, that is different than asking men to fully get our needs, our way of looking at situations, how it feels to be in our bodies, etc. That’s a lot. Aren’t we better served simply being properly represented? Because, of course, there’s also the fact that we’re not some homogenized blob of one mind and belief system.

I’ve made a complete turn on this. No more hand-wringing or qualifying. Here’s how it looks played out in real life. As things stand today, if either Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris is an option when New Jersey holds its primary, that is where my vote will be cast. (To be clear, in the general election I will vote for the Democratic nominee no matter who it is).

I think we’re being called to rise up as women and claim our power and place in American society. In vast numbers like never before. Whether that be via marching, writing letters, volunteering, running for office, dropping off baked goods at a campaign office, or simply staying informed and voting to have our unique and pressing needs met by someone who gets us because she IS us, so be it. Too busy trying to care for an infant or ailing loved one to become an activist? No sweat. We’ve got your back. Just get to the voting booth.

Need motivation? Here’s some: Georgia, Alabama, Kentucky, Ohio, Missouri …

I want this President to be given his walking papers as much as two-thirds of this country. And I’m just as scared that if we choose the wrong person to run against him it won’t happen. But I am even more frightened of the idea that we don’t listen to our better angels and our bubbling anger and take heed of the signs that are saying go big, really big, and take the reins of this country. Our current leadership – not just the President, but so many enablers – thrives on division and distraction. Mobilized women can change this and I say it should start at the top.

Completely shedding layers of patriarchal conditioning isn’t easy. Is it even possible? I don’t know. But I can tell you this – I’m a lot closer than I was yesterday.

[Listen to the audio version.]