The Vegan Ideal Blog

Abolition, Liberation and Veganism

I'm glad The Vegan Police has a post discussing "Abolitionist History 101: Animal Abolition and Racism." In the post, The Vegan Police challenge the post-racial appropriation of "abolition." The post seeks to challenge readers ignorance and encourage us to dig deeper and learn something about the past and present abolitionist movements with regard to the historical and ongoing captivity of Blacks and other people of color in the United States. (Read more...)

Violence Within Activist Communities

There are no acts of violence that are purely personal or isolated. As a function of oppression, violence follows a social structure and purpose. This is why I find it so upsetting when accusations of violence are dismissed or at best treated as isolated, interpersonal incidents. ... It is privilege that enables some of us to sit on the sidelines while others are the targets of violence and oppression within our communities. Refusing to involve ourselves and others in addressing violence in our communities supports the status quo. ... Before accusations of violence can even be considered as valid or not, there needs to be a means of supporting survivors to come forward and a process for the community to hold perpetrators accountable. ... Violence within activist communities needs to be seen as something that affects those communities collectively and understood in terms of the social structures under which it is perpetuated. (Read more...)

Carol Adams and the Annihilation of Trans People

In "The Oppression of Universal Assumptions: Rhetoric vs. Reality," I discuss some recent online activity by Carol Adams concerning transphobia. When Adams was called out for being transphobic during a Twitter exchange, she responded by tweeting: "again, this is based on a 5 year-old report of a 10 year incident; I remember it differently. Can you cite anything else?" Yes, as a matter of fact, we can cite something else. (Read more...)

The Oppression of Universal Assumptions: Rhetoric vs. Reality

I witnessed an exchange on Twitter the other day where @VeganMudblood (Chelsea) was attempting to call out @_CarolJAdams (Carol Adams) on her transphobia. It started with a tweet by Chelsea stating: "Sexism, transphobia, homophobia, racism, classism, sizeism, ageism, etc., have NO place in the #animalrights movement. #vegan," which Adams retweeted. In my opinion, Chelsea was right to call out Adams for her hypocrisy in retweeting an anti-transphobia tweet given Adams' refusal to take responsibility for or be held accountable for perpetuating transphobia herself. Adams responded to Chelsea by continuing a pattern of avoiding responsibility while retain her cissexual privilege. Adams then posted, "I am against transphobia."

Yet, so far Adams has done apparently nothing but avoid calls for accountability for what she is being called out on. (Read more...)

Glee, GLAAD, PETA and Susan Sarandon

Recently, Susan Sarandon made tabloid news when it was announced for the world that the affluent, White, cissexual actress didn't think there was any problem with the term "tranny," which had been used as a pejorative on the television show Glee. It was reported that Sarandon defended the shows use of the slur in a statement denouncing the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) for "getting like PETA - way out of control," when the anti-defamation organization called Glee out for the derisive use of the anti-trans epithet. (Read more...)

Your Baby or the Bathwater

Feminism is the political theory and practice that struggles to free all women. ... Anything less than this vision of total freedom is not feminism, but merely female self-aggrandizement. —Barbara Smith

I've written a lot on the topic of transphobia, and while I've tried to communicate that transphobia is part of a system of oppression, I still get responses from people saying they don't want to "throw the baby out with the bathwater." They claim to agree with me that transphobia is wrong, but they go on to resist renouncing those feminist beliefs and people that are complicit in perpetuating the transphobia described on this site.

I believe it is a privilege derived from social oppression that allows cis (non-trans) people to say they oppose transphobia but then ignore it when it is inconvenient to call it out or when it is otherwise beneficial to themselves. Trans people certainly don't have the same options to ignore transphobia since we are the ones being harmed by it. (Read more...)

Let's Make Julie Bindel's Hatred History

Yesterday, Julie Bindel linked to this site in her most recent column for the Guardian urging, "Let's Make PETA History." The thing you need to know about Bindel is that she is notoriously opposed to justice for both trans people and sex workers, and in her own words claims to "hate vegetarians." While it's obvious to any anyone who searches this site that I have no love for PETA, I was surprised that Bindel would link to this site since the majority of what I've written over the last year is in support of justice people who are trans and/or sex workers—not to mention that this site is The Vegan Ideal, a radically pro-vegetarian website. Given all this, I can't help but feel like Bindel is cherry-picking only that information supporting her own personal agenda. (Read more...)

Lierre Keith: A Case Study in Anti-Trans Hatred

Lierre Keith is the author of The Vegetarian Myth, a polemic against plant-based diets, and the forthcoming Deep Green Resistance, with Aric McBay and Derrick Jensen. Last year I wrote a post "Questioning Lierre Keith's Transphobia" when asked on another blog, "Can you site anything written by Keith where she expresses views about Trans people?" Joelle Ruby Ryan came across my post in preparation for a conference where Keith was presenting. Having discovered Keith's anti-trans connections, Ryan informed the conference organizers. Here are excerpts of Keith's response to being asked about her ideologically driven hatred of trans people, as posted on Ryan's Transmeditations’s Blog: (Read more...)

The Sexual Politics of Carol J. Adams

In failing to approach feminism from any kind of materialist base, failing to take race, ethnicity, class into account in determining where women are at sexually, many feminists have created an analysis of sexual oppression (often confused with sexuality itself) which is a political dead-end. —Cherríe Moraga, Loving in the War Years

I'm concerned that The Scavenger, an online self-described "progressive" magazine, is uncritically promoting the 20th anniversary edition of Carol J. Adams' Sexual Politics of Meat. By promoting her book, The Scavenger is perpetuating the dominance of the anti-sex worker, anti-trans, affluent White normative feminism offered by Carol J. Adams. In this respect, there's some sort of cognitive dissonance going on here when The Scavenger promotes Adams, whose work is based almost entirely on the assumed given vilification and misrepresentations of sex workers, while publishing another article opposing the vilification of sex workers. (Read more...)

Exploitation and Resistance: The Story of Tilikum

Last Wednesday, Tilikum, a free-born orca who's been held captive for over 26 years by the zoo and aquarium industry, killed Dawn Brancheau, one of his human overseers at SeaWorld Amusement Park where he is currently being exploited for human amusement and commercial profit.

While commonly referred to as a "trainer," "overseer" more accurately describes the role Brancheau played in watching over and directing Tilikum's and other orcas' forced labor at the park. That is, overseer puts the training orcas like Tilikum experience, as well as their performances, into the proper context. (Read more...)