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...)

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...)

Class Privilege in Anti-Sex Worker, Anti-Homeless Activism

Jenna directed me to an important post by Johanna at Vegans of Color reminding us: "Don't Use Classism and Anti-Sex Worker Rhetoric to Protest Fur." Johanna's post provides a needed look at the anti-homeless and anti-sex worker rhetoric of a few nonhuman animal advocates.

In a post titled "Fur is for Beautiful Animals and Scary Hookers," "Vegan Shoe Lady" proudly quotes PETA's Ingrid Newkirk as saying, "Fur has lost all its cachet. It's yesterday. I see prostitutes in Atlantic City wearing fur." Shoe Lady goes on to suggest that nonhuman animal advocates refer to women wearing fur by saying, "She's probably a hooker. Tacky coat, lower-class manners – no one respectable presents themselves that way." (Read more...)

Mirha-Soleil Ross on Justice for Sex Workers and Nonhuman Animals

Today (Dec. 17) is International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. In honor of this day I'd like to share some excerpts from a couple of interviews with Mirha-Soleil Ross, a vegan, transsexual and sex worker justice advocate, regarding her seven-part monologue, Yapping Out Loud: Contagious Thoughts from an Unrepentant Whore. In Yapping Out Loud, Ross addresses "anti-prostitution discourses and campaigns, detailing the way they impact, often tragically on prostitutes' working conditions and lives." In the following excerpts Ross confronts the anti-sex worker discourse in relation to nonhuman animal advocacy. (Read more...)

Questioning Lierre Keith's Transphobia

In reply to a comment I made about Lierre Keith's affiliation with anti-trans politics and opposition to pornography by, for, and of lesbians, "Anonymous" wrote:

Founders of organizations don’t always agree with the policies those organizations come to have.

Can you site anything written by Keith where she expresses views about Trans people?

Do you have any citations of Keith stating that she is opposed to lesbians taking part in consentual BDSM or pornography?

If any of this is true it would quite ironic. Keith was banned from an extended stay meditation retreat in the 1990s because she is a Lesbian.

This is a good question. Where are Keith's politics when it comes to trans people, or lesbians taking part in consensual BDSM or pornography? (Read more...)

Criminalization Won't Stop the Violence

Nathan Runkle, the executive director of Mercy for Animals (MFA), was attacked recently outside a gay nightclub in Dayton, Ohio. The attack on Runkle is not an isolated act of a single hateful individual, and I think anytime we hear about violence like this it is an opportunity to integrate a broader understanding of violence and oppression into our thoughts and actions.

Moving Beyond 'No on Prop 8'

This year, California's ballot campaigns "Yes on Prop. 2" and "No on Prop. 8" both received a great deal of national attention. As such, both of these campaigns represented and worked to frame the national priorities of nonhuman animal advocacy and queer advocacy, respectively. Unfortunately, both campaigns have also worked to establish narrow agendas and goals for nonhuman animal advocacy and queer advocacy – agendas and goals that increasingly move towards accommodating the status quo of human supremacy and heteropatriarchy.

Think Harder Before You Speak

Perhaps you've seen the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) PSAs titled "Think Before You Speak." The messaging of these ads was designed to discourage use of the slur "That's so gay." The ArnoldNYC agency which created the TV spots in partnership with GLSEN recently won the Ad Council's Gold Bell award, its top honor for PSAs.

There are three TV spots: one set in a drugstore, one set in a diner, and one set in a boutique. Of these three ads the first two undermine the message of the ad by promoting the ableist slurs "stupid" and "dumb" as acceptable replacements for the slur "gay."

How PETA Exploits Black Men

The juxtaposition of the lynching of Black men and the slaughter of a bull, from a PETA exhibit in 2005, offends many Black people and anti-racist activists who object to the juxtaposition as dehumanizing and representative of White supremacy. Many of those (mostly White) nonhuman animal advocates who defend the comparison counter that those who object to the exhibit are just being "speciesist."