trans & gender nonconforming

Transphobia and Feminists for Animal Rights

Most people are aware of the issue of transphobia in the feminist movement by how it is dramatically exhibited through the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival's (MichFest) infamous "women-born-women" policy. The term "women-born-women" is actually a cissexist synonym for a cissexual (non-transsexual) women, and it is used primarily to exclude transsexual women from "women-only" spaces. The term is used as part of a transphobic backlash that employs biological determinism to claim the superiority of cissexual women as "natural" or "real" women while devaluing transsexual women as "unnatural" or "fake."

The now dormant organization Feminists for Animal Rights (FAR), founded by the trans-misogynistic vegetarian-ecofeminist Marti Kheel (who when asked during a panel Q&A what people can do to help trans women, Kheel instead went into a misogynistic, transphobic tirade attacking trans women), also promotes a transphobic "women-born-women" policy. FAR has long been a hub for feminist-vegetarians/ecofeminists closely connected to nonhuman animal advocacy. In fact, while other feminist views exist on the intersection of feminism and anti-speciesism, the discourse is dominated by the FAR clique of feminist-vegetarians/ecofeminists who are featured prominently in books, conferences, and academic journals. (Read more...)

Challenging Feminist Transphobia

White ecofeminism and feminist-vegetarianism is heavily influenced by the reactionary and transphobic writings of some dominant radical culutral feminists. Most notably is Mary Daly and her book Gyn/Ecology, which is filled with transphobia, cissexism, and trans-misogyny directed at transsexual women. A major influence on, as well as of, Daly's transphobia was Janice Raymond, who wrote the transphobic book The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male. Other transphobic influences on feminist-vegetarians/ecofeminists include Robin Morgan and Sheila Jeffreys. (Read more...)

Is it Safe to Come Out?

Chris from Deep Roots makes some critical comments about the Coming Out For Animals call for papers, including some discussion of my thoughts on "animal activists" promoting police violence more than being targeted by it. Chris suggests I might have misunderstood the context of the questions being asked in a call for papers. I also got an anonymous hate comment that more aggressively insists that the misunderstanding was intentional. Chris says that the context might have been that in terms of "activist groups" "animal activists" "bear the brunt" of police violence. (Read more...)

The Personal is Political

Veganism is a good example of how consciousness-raising about our everyday actions is important to challenging the structure of oppression and exploitation. Veganism takes everyday "personal" actions (e.g., eating, dressing, and recreating) and calls out the political dimensions of these actions. It reveals how eating, wearing, and otherwise using nonhuman animals is not a mere "personal" act, but a dimension of exploitation and human privilege. It makes a connection between the personal action and the political structure of our society. (Read more...)