PETA Celebrates Trans-Misogyny

Back in October I posted about PETA's transphobic "Fur is a Drag" campaign. Since 1992, this anti-transgender component has played a supporting role in PETA's larger campaign that presumably opposes the fur industry. That was, until now.

This Friday, PETA is relaunching the "Fur is a Drag" campaign in an all-out, star-studded celebration of trans-misogyny. According to MTV.co.uk blogger Dael P., "The London party will feature a parody of a fur runway show, cross-dressing models will be sporting fur clothing that will be accessorised with paint and animal traps."

Don't deceive yourself into thinking this is a harmless joke or witty play on words. In truth, this campaign is both hateful and malicious.

As Vanessa pointed out on The Colonic blog:

In this context, fur is a "drag"--meaning it is bad, and a bloodied cross-dresser is somehow supposed to be quirky or funny. This is all in advertisement for a fashion show where cross-dressers will cat walk fur coats with fake blood. The cat walk is just a cruel play on the walk of shame, cloaked by humor and couture no less. Look, it's a tranny! Everyone laugh.

Least we forget, it's worth recalling the high-rate of "trans-bashing" — that is, physical, sexual, and verbal violence targeting transgender people, especially those of us on the feminine spectrum.

A high proportion of trans female and trans feminine people are physically and sexually attacked each year, and many are killed. Additionally, verbal harassment and abuse is an everyday occurrence experienced by most trans people. And this doesn't even include the systemic and institutionalized violence of poverty, housing and employment discrimination, denial of health and medical care, and so on.

The "Fur is a Drag" campaign is part of this continuum of violence and oppression against tansgender people. It is a mistake to view the appropriation of the term "drag" as a cute or silly pun. The assumed "joke" is deeply transphobic, and is just as oppressive as any White supremacist, misogynist, or homophobic so-called "joke." (Of course, PETA does also use White supremacy, misogyny, and homophobia in its campaigns.) In this context, "Fur is a Drag" is akin to PETA having a campaign titled "Fur is Gay." Obviously, the latter campaign presents being gay as objectionable and, likewise, the existing campaign presents being trans as objectionable.

In its campaign, PETA uses "drag" as a weapon that specifically marks trans female/trans feminine people as acceptable targets of violence. In other words, the campaign is based on trans-misogyny. This is evident in PETA campaign materials which mark cross-dressers and other trans female/trans feminine people as "ridiculous" and "ugly." So the entire basis for the "Fur is a Drag" campaign is drawn from, and perpetuates, the belief that trans female/trans feminine people an inherently repulsive and inferior class of people, and therefore suitable for oppression.

With its party, PETA bridges the continuum of verbal and physical anti-trans violence by going from the derogatory use of the term "drag" to portraying cross-dressing models as valid targets of physical violence by covering them with blood-like red paint and traps created to main and kill.

Far from fostering any sort of compassion for either transgender people or nonhuman animals, PETA's campaign and party uses, as oppose to challenges, the exploitation of other animals as an excuse to revel in the oppression of transgender people.

thanks for posting this

thanks for posting this and the link to the previous post you did which quotes PETA's campaign - the text there is the most damning evidence that PETA was exploiting queer culture(s) and gender transgression for its campaign.

I'm keeping track of these things, after writing a post about the Klan rally they held, for an upcoming training on the use of oppression on the left to help progressive organizers re/think about how to raise awareness and create equity. Your posts help.

thank you for posting this.

thank you for posting this.

great post.

great post. I really learned a lot from your past post detailing how/why words like "stupid" and "dumb" are ableist. (And then, on my own, I've been rethinking words like "lame," "wild," and "crazy"--and trying to get more honest in my communication in general.) I've been sharing this insight with anyone who I hear using those words. Now I see how "a drag" can be used the same way. But I wonder, is "a drag" always transphobic? Or is it just PETA's usage that puts that meaning into it?

thank you for writing. i was really excited to see that you had written again after the long break!