Category: Animals & LGBTQs

Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 24: Three months o’ links!

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Considering I haven’t posted a link roundup in more than three months, this one actually isn’t all that long. What can I say; I’ve used what little free blogging time I’ve had to prepare for the upcoming Vegan MoFo madness. Speaking of which, brand spanking new graphics and an up-to-date press release are now available. Go grab some and spread the word! 400 participants and counting – let’s make it 500, kay? Come November 1st, you can follow the fun on Twitter (VeganMoFo, #veganmofo), the (new!) PPK forums, and Vegan MoFo Headquarters International. See y’all then.

Joel Burns tells gay teens “it gets better”;

Stephanie @ Animal Rights & AntiOppression: “You Coming Out or What?”; and

The Bullies Suck T-shirt

In the wake of a spate of suicides, committed by gay teenagers who were each the target of homophobic bullying, the LGBTQ community and its allies celebrated National Coming Out Day on October 11. Together, these events have focused attention on movements to prevent bullying – particularly those aimed at LGBTQ (or perceived LGBTQ) youths – including the It Gets Better Project and The Trevor Project. The former invites members and allies of the LGBTQ community to upload encouraging videos to its website, the message being that “it gets better”; the latter operates a hotline for LGBTQ youths and young adults in crisis, and also provides resources to parents and educators.

As part of this anti- anti-gay backlash, a number of celebrities and public figures have shared their own experiences publicly – including Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns, whose heartbreaking speech went viral and was aired in full on various media outlets, including CNN (where I first saw it). I’ve embedded the video above; even though it’s rather long, clocking in at almost 13 minutes, I urge you to watch the whole thing. It will bring you to tears.

And, while you’re already a sobby, snotty mess, head on over to AR&AO, where Stephanie shares her own “coming out” story. These issues – homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, and the like – are relevant to animal rights activism simply because so many activists belong to marginalized groups; nonhumans are not the only animals exploited and mistreated en masse, for no reason other than the simple fact of their birth. All oppression is bad oppression, and all forms of oppression harm individual activists, as well as social movements and the beings for whom we advocate. These are not “special interests,” to be addressed only after the “important” work is done; these are our interests, to be tackled in concert with other “isms.”

To this end, Ari Solomon of A Scent of Scandal, Josh Hooten of The Herbivore Clothing Company and Jennifer Martin of Ink Brigade created a line of t-shirts to show solidarity with the victims of anti-LGBTQ bullying. Called “Bullies Suck,” the tees are available for purchase through Herbivore (just $20, with kids’ sizes, to boot!); all proceeds will be donated to The Trevor Project.

(More below the fold…)

Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 23: lolz the douche away

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

lol batman - get that dood-elle

lol batman – get that dood-elle!” – Running through the streets of Gotham, a cheesy, live-action, retro ’60s Batman and Robin try desperately to apprehend a certain sexist blogger before he can unleash any further douchebaggery upon the women of Blogville. “HOLY FUCKING PATRONIZING SEXISM,” goes the refrain of this lol batman.
TV still via the internets; quote via Stephanie; and photoshopping via moi.
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Though I haven’t been posting much ’round these parts lately

[and have all but abandoned ship over at AR&AO, for which I apologize to Stephanie & Co. profusely, and pledge to do better once things calm down here at Casa del Garbato-Brady, otherwise known as the Garden of Vegan, a title which I swear I will one day have posted at our driveway's front gate, threats of TP and eggs be damned]

rest assured that I’ve been busy, busy, busy, namely: working on several projects – including developing a website for my fledgling business

[Remember my – by which I mean Shane’s – pizza press idea of last October? We are totally doing it! Slowly but surely, anyway. Our website isn’t quite ready yet, so if you’d like to follow our progress, like us on Facebook, mkay?];

revamping another

[POP! goes The Vegan., whose database of vegan reviews should really be on the front page, with the blog in an ancillary position, seeing as the database is the main f’in attraction. What I was thinking by reversing their positions, I know not.];

and launching yet another brand-spankin’ new website

[Schlong4Seals! OMG, just reflecting on all the man-sausages and dick jokes waiting in the wings is enough to bring a smile to my normally frowny face. (I almost always look annoyed, even when I’m not; it’s must be the humorless feminist in me, I guess.) I was a little incensed when the Fraternal Order of Facebook killed my SCHLONGS4SEALS group, but in retrospect, I think they did me a solid. A solid I shall return by plastering FB with links to all my super-awesome crotch shots and “seven ways to save the seals using only your cock” posts! Oh, I cannot wait. *Channeling the spirit of Will Ferrell*]

- the height of insanity, since clearly I already have more blogs than I can keep track of. Silly, silly rabbit.

Oh, and the zazzle store! A few designs for which I still need to create. Yeah, let’s save that for later, shall we?

Anyhow, on to issue #23 of “Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs.” On accounta me being in a mad hurry tonight, I’ve forgone most of my normal commentary in lieu of excerpts. That’s okay, though; I’ve got a great batch of links to share with y’all, so best to let the individual bloggers speak for themselves.

Browse, share, enjoy – and then blame and smash. Go!

lol-psycat - narcissus

lol-psycat – narcissus” – Apropos of the dood-elle mentioned above, “narcissistic cat is his own screensavr.” (For those who can’t view the image, a black cat lounges atop a computer monitor, which currently displays a photo of…a black cat!) Not super-relevant to the rest of the post, but I felt like I needed a break between my semi-coherent ramblings above and the über-awesome link roundup below. Anal, who me?
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INCITE! Blog: Why Misogynists Make Great Informants: How Gender Violence on the Left Enables State Violence in Radical Movements

To save our movements, we need to come to terms with the connections between gender violence, male privilege, and the strategies that informants (and people who just act like them) use to destabilize radical movements. Time and again heterosexual men in radical movements have been allowed to assert their privilege and subordinate others. Despite all that we say to the contrary, the fact is that radical social movements and organizations in the United States have refused to seriously address gender violence as a threat to the survival of our struggles. We’ve treated misogyny, homophobia, and heterosexism as lesser evils—secondary issues—that will eventually take care of themselves or fade into the background once the “real” issues—racism, the police, class inequality, U.S. wars of aggression—are resolved.

(Hat tip, Jenna at L.O.V.E.)

Vegan Feminist Agitator: Exploitation + Objectification = Conklin Farms. (In other words, business as usual.)

The process through which we make peace with the inherent injustice of how we treat non-humans occurs because of objectification, the largely unconscious fragmentation system through which sentient beings are turned into objects. It is easier for the mind to integrate the misuse of objects than the abuse of living beings. Through this process, individuation collapses: all cows, all hens become a single entity to be turned into product. Those who are in power have their interests interpreted as a natural right rather a personal desire. When our interests require the subjugation of another, objectification makes the acquiring of what we want that much easier.

Digging Through the Dirt: Promotion of Veal on Columbus Day Adds to Insult

Because we think of ourselves as exceptional, we view “the other” as inferior. Descendents of native peoples and of African slaves are still regarded as inferior in this country, in general. And animals are treated as such, too. They exist for our purposes; they have no value except that which we bestow upon them, usually in the form of dollars. It’s all about what we can get from them — their flesh, their milk, their eggs — just as it was for Columbus. What could he get from the native peoples?

(More below the fold…)

Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 22: Shegans, unite!

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Raising her sword to Grayskull, LOL She-Ra demands, “I Can Haz Equal Rights?” & as long as we’re taking requests, the lady would like a NOMy vegan meal, too. (She’s a Shegan, yo!)
CC image via Brett L. on Flickr.
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The Boston Globe: Men leave their own mark on veganism and

vegansaurus!: He-gan woman-haters club!

Men + vegans = hegans. (Get it!?) Specifically, hegans are “men in their 40s and 50s embracing a restrictive lifestyle to look better, rectify a gluttonous past, or cheat death.” (Or, alternately, hegans are the latest faux-trend created by the newspaper industry in order to 1) hawk their wares and/or 2) avoid reporting on actual news. Be your own decider person.)

Though I prefer the term “hegan” to its predecessor, “femivore” (which, as a word, makes zero sense), it’s still kind of bullshit: in describing this ‘new breed’ of manly vegan men, Pierce is setting up a false dichotomy that portrays ‘regular’ vegan dudes (and women, too) as effeminate, weak and sentimental (‘pussies, queers and commies,’ as hegans might say). Also: paint with a broad brush much? Veganism is a diverse movement, and any attempt to pigeonhole such a large segment of the population is misguided at best. (See above, re: creating news where there is none.)

That said, I have a counter-proposal: shegan. More complex an equation than “women + vegans = shegans,” shegans as I envision them are feminist vegans of all sexes and genders (and/or feminist-allied vegan men, if you prefer) who reject sexism and misogyny as vehemently as they do speciesism. Dog knows we could use a little more sheganism, particularly since this is quickly shaping up to be the summer of the hegan douchebag.

Vegan Feminist Agitator: The PETA Effect

A lovely essay from Marla in which she manages to deconstruct the bulk of PETA’s campaigns in one fell swoop. To wit:

The PETA Effect has come into existence because they have cynically decided to not only accept the terms dictated by the worst aspects of the mainstream world, but to be a part of it. Instead of questioning misogyny, they wallow in it. Instead of thoughtful, insightful analysis, they have women citing statistics while stripping on camera. Instead of rejecting the notion that we all need to be young, slim, and, more often than not, surgically enhanced to be attractive, they embrace it fully, and they also tell us that objectification for the “cause” is a worthy endeavor. They tell a nation already deeply battered by this message that if you are not young, slim and conventionally attractive, you are worthless and disgusting. What does this have to do with compassion to animals? How does this improve a battery chicken’s life? How does this make the skeptical public more receptive to questioning their values? It doesn’t.

Seriously, go read the whole piece. I can wait.

(More below the fold…)

Ask not "Are Animal Lovers Sexist?," but "Can Animal Lovers Be Sexist?" (Answer: duh.)

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

lol kaylee - just needs a hammer

Don’t fear, Ms. Kaylee is here! lol dog sez, “wonder beyatch – be hear 2 smash ur kyriarchy, mkay?” She brought her Wonder Woman undies, but she’ll need to borrow a hammer. You got a problem with that, human?
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Last November, I penned a brief letter to the editors of VegNews, in which I questioned Rory Freedman’s casual use of the term “fur hag” – “hag” being a sexist, ageist and lookist slur. (VegNews subscribers can read the exact quote in context in Freedman’s column, “Prison or Bust,” which appeared in the December 2009 issue.) Fast-forward several months; my letter was published, albeit with several edits, in the March+April 2010 issue.

Not surprisingly – given the popularity of the term, as well as PETA’s “fur hag” campaigns – some readers disagreed with my comments, including Annie Hartnett of change.org’s newly-rebranded Animals blog. (Many thanks to Marji of Animal Place for bringing the post to my attention!) In Are Animal Lovers Sexist?, Hartnett argues that, ahem, attacking women for their femaleness is not sexist because most fur-wearers are women.

While I have previously deconstructed the term “fur hag” – as well as the campaigns’ associated imagery – what follows is a line-by-line response to Hartnett’s piece. Rather than rehash points that I’ve made elsewhere, however, I’ll use this as an opportunity to build upon my previous argument. If you haven’t already, please go read last January’s On “fur hags” and “fucking bitches.” before continuing on; doubly so if you’re surfing on over here from change.org. (Also related, and referenced in passing below: ARA PSAs: Women, Men and Fur and ARA PSAs: Attack of the Killer Cosmetics.) (1)

Before we begin, though, I’d like to reprint my letter, as Hartnett did not/would not do so, even upon request.

Here is the original letter, in its entirety:

As a vegan feminist, I’m increasingly disturbed by the number of animal advocates who are willing to engage in sexism (and other “isms”) in the course of their advocacy – “for the animals,” of course (as if women are not sentient beings as well). Take, for example, Rory Freedman’s use of the term “fur hag” to describe those who wear fur (“Prison or Bust,” December 2009 issue). “Hag” – a gendered slur that is synonymous with “witch” – literally means “an ugly old woman.” While fur-wearers may indeed be ugly on the inside, a person’s gender, age and physical appearance say nothing of her character. If Ms. Freedman – or any other animal advocate – feels the need to resort to insults, please keep them “ism”-free. “Jerk,” “loser,” “asshat”: all convey a point – without further marginalizing already-marginalized groups of animals, human or non.

Kelly Garbato
Kearney, MO 64060

kelly.garbato [at] gmail.com

http://www.easyvegan.info

By the way, I wrote a lengthy piece on the term “fur hag” last year, wherein I expound upon the sexist, ageist and sizeist nature of the phrase in much greater detail than is possible in 250 words or less. Additionally, I employ PETA’s associated “fur hag” campaign imagery to further illustrate my point. You can read the post in its entirety at http://bit.ly/vl8sB

Seriously, tho’, enough with the misogyny!

(More below the fold…)

Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 18: My Bloody Valentine

Friday, February 26th, 2010

A neon red-and-white sign declares: “My Bloody Valentine sells out.”
CC image via Penningtron on Flickr.
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Vegansaurus!: What creepy chefs do to get laid

Guest blogger Kristen looks at a Valentine’s Day article which highlights the foods that non-vegan chefs cook for their lovers. Surprise, surprise: many are animal-based, thus transforming the descriptions into an appalling spectacle of sex and death. The original article at Grub Street, for example, is decorated with a disgusting photo of scallops in an orange-and-green sauce/oil slick. Yuck.

Suicide Food: Happy Valentine’s Day: a digression

Just when you thought the butcher’s counter couldn’t get any more grotesque, behold: heart-shaped slabs of “meat”! I shit you not.

The Pursuit of Harpyness: Be A Bitch: To the New York Times Public Editor

In which Roman Polanski’s 13-year-old rape victim is likened to – wait for it – “quarry.” “Quarry” being another word for a hunted “game” animal.

The link above is to a complaint letter (good!) written in response to a piece which ran in The New York Times (bad!); you can read the original piece in its entirety here: Polanski’s Visions of Victimhood by Dennis Lim.

The Discerning Brute: Who Wears The Pants?

Joshua Katcher dissects a trailer for the upcoming documentary “An Emasculating Truth” – brought to you by, ahem, Dockers – which, surprise, is chock full of sexism and speciesism. In particular, the men appearing in the film advocate violence towards animals as an expression of one’s masculinity. Katcher ties this overt encouragement of violence with Levi’s own history of environmental and labor violence towards its employees and their families, many of them poor women of color.

(More below the fold…)

Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 14: Human(ity, or lack thereof)

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

King Kong (2005) - Kong & Darrow 02

Bitch Magazine: Trans Spotting—The media’s myopic vision of transsexuals

Not exactly “new,” but this piece from trans activist/artist Julia Serano (http://juliaserano.com) is an excellent complement to the “Our Bodies and Lives” series posted by Ida at The Vegan Ideal several weeks back (see Transsexual Knowledge and Resistance; Transphobic Trauma, Transsexual Healing; and Questioning Cissexual Politics). Serano directly challenges feminist stereotypes which hold that male-to-female transsexuals serve to reinforce the gender binary with their uber-feminine wiles. She also offers a few choice words for defenders of the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival’s “womyn-born-womyn only” policy.

The article isn’t available online, though, so you’ll need to order a back issue of Bitch (Issue 26, Fall 2004: The “Fake” issue) to read it. Or, for just a few bucks more, check out Serano’s Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity, published in 2007. It’s on my wish list!

The Vegan Ideal: Mirha-Soleil Ross on Justice for Sex Workers and Nonhuman Animals

In honor of the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers (December 17), Ida highlights the words of Mirha-Soleil Ross, “a vegan, transsexual and sex worker justice advocate.” In snippets from several interviews, Ross addresses the topics of (radical) feminism within the animal rights movement; similarities between society’s demonization of prostitutes and coyotes; and the objectification of women and nonhuman animals – from all corners.

Johanna @ Vegans of Color: Don’t Use Classism and Anti-Sex Worker Rhetoric to Protest Fur;

The Vegan Ideal: Class Privilege in Anti-Sex Worker, Anti-Homeless Activism;

The Vegan Shoe Lady: Fur is for Beautiful Animals and Scary Hookers; and

Taste Better!: On framing fur

Johanna and Ida critique a recent anti-fur post written by The Vegan Shoe Lady (and later picked up and enthusiastically expounded upon by Taste Better!) in which the author encourages readers to engage in classism and sexism, as well as the shaming of sex workers and homeless people, in the course of their anti-fur activism. Because this just what the animal rights movement needs – to be perceived as a monolith of exclusionary white elitists, yes? Lovely!

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Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 12: The Wordy Vegan

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

The Handmaid's Tale (BBC Radio 4, 2000)

The Vegan Ideal: Our Bodies and Lives

In a series of posts, Ida dissects and rejects the cissexual “colonization” of transsexual bodies and experiences. While transphobia and cissexism are primarily linked with physical violence and systemic discrimination, discounting and silencing the voices of transsexuals – often in favor of cissexuals’ own mis-/un-informed theories and assumptions – is problematic as well. Unfortunately, transphobia and cissexism are all-too common in a number of “progressive” circles – including animal rights and vegan communities. Here, Ida takes vegetarian-ecofeminists to task for their transphobic attitudes.

This isn’t exactly light reading, but I encourage y’all to read each piece anyhow, and with an open mind. If you find transsexuality a difficult concept to grasp, consider this: given your position of not-knowing (read: ignorance), isn’t it best, then, to trust the thoughts, experiences and feelings of those most intimately affected by transsexuality – i.e., transsexuals themselves – and to place their voices in a position of primacy?

Part 1: Our Bodies and Lives: Transsexual Knowledge and Resistance;
Part 2: Our Bodies and Lives: Transphobic Trauma, Transsexual Healing; and
Part 3: Our Bodies and Lives: Questioning Cissexual Politics.

Steven @ L.O.V.E.: Toward vegan language and

Stephanie @ Animal Rights: Not It and That and What — She and He and Who and Whom

The importance of language – including word choice, pronoun usage, framing, writing in the active vs. the passive voice, etc., etc., etc. – is a subject we haven’t discussed nearly enough on this blog. Fear not; a review of An Introduction to Carnism – in which language assumes a starring role – is forthcoming, and once I’m able to return to Animal Equality: Language and Liberation (a year after beginning it, perhaps? oy!), I expect that you won’t be able to shut me up with the language “policing.”

Until then, Steven outlines four reasons why animal advocates should – must! – concern ourselves with language. Also check out Stephanie’s piece on pronoun choice and objectification.

(More below the fold…)

Green Porno 3.0: Compassion is sexy!

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

null

Back in June, I raved about Green Porno, a subversive (and delightfully cheesy!) documentary series starring Isabella Rossellini (whom I’ve had a massive girl-crush on ever since her turn as Katya Derevko in Alias). Green Porno examines the sex lives of nonhuman animals – which, oftentimes, are far from “conventional.” To this end, the show has great potential to change how humans view “others”: women, homosexuals, transgendered persons, gender nonconformists – and even nonhuman animals.

To this, I’d like to add that, in addition to their anti-sexist, anti-homophobic, anti-transphobic, anti-anti-sex thrust (pun most definitely intended), these shows are anti-speciesist as well.

While [the] disavowal of animal homosexuality and sexual variety serves to justify and reinforce “isms” directed at humans (homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, etc.), it at also functions at another level. In denying non-human animals the full range of their behavioral, emotional and sexual expression, we rob them of their complexity, their personality – for lack of a better term, their humanity.

Like us, non-human animals can be complicated creatures, driven by a range of goals and desires. Animals, humans included, aren’t just about reproduction; our sole purpose in life isn’t simply to spread our DNA and produce as much offspring as possible. Sometimes we have sex, mate and form bonds because it’s fulfilling in other ways. Nor do we only nurture and protect our own genetic material: sometimes we act with altruism and compassion rather than selfishness and narcissism.

By insisting that animals only copulate in order to introduce sperm to egg, we simplify trillions of sentient beings, taking from them characteristics which make them seem that much more human.

Ironically, in so doing, we also reduce the human species to a caricature, a boring, two-dimensional model which scarcely resembles h. spaiens, in all its diverse, eccentric, animalistic magnificence.

Watching animal sex play out amidst kindergarten construction paper cutouts and human-sized bodysuits, the viewer (hopefully) comes to see nonhumans as the unique individuals they really are. When one ceases to regard a group of beings as a single, undifferentiated mass of “stuff,” othering them – based on species, sex, sexuality, race, breed or whatnot – becomes a difficult, twisted task indeed.

Season 1 focused on bugs (spiders, flies, earthworms), Season 2 on ocean dwellers (barnacles, whales, starfish). Both Wiki and I had thought Season 3 would shift focus to farmed animals such as pigs and cows, but it looks Season 3 will continue to examine marine animals. In a subtle shift from Season 2, however, Rossellini’s attention turns to ocean dwellers whom we commonly kill and eat (and oftentimes “farm” as well).

(More below the fold…)

In which Ben Mayo Boddie busts Hardee’s creamy sweet balls.

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Via Kelsey Wallace at Bitch blogs (whose title works just as well as my own, to wit, Hardee’s: No One Wants You to Dip Your Balls in It) comes news of Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr.’s latest ad campaign, Hardee’s Biscuit Holes, which the company describes thusly:

Man-on-the-street survey asks for new names for Hardee’s Biscuit Holes. Wait until you see what they come up with! Got a better name? Tell us at www.NameOurHoles.com and star in your own commercial.

To the extent that it focuses on male anatomy, this commercial is a welcome relief from the company’s traditional, misogynist fare:
 


 
Naturally, there’s a bit of a conflict here: are the biscuit holes to be taken literally or figuratively? As in, are they holes (read: assholes; cue: fears of anal and/or “gay” sex) or balls (bis-ticles, hehehe)? The former is potentially homophobic and thus not-so-funny, while the latter is, well, long overdue. Hardee’s has been exploiting the bodies of women to sell cruelty-laden products for going on a decade or more, and it’s about time the dudes got their due. (In a fun and lighthearted way, I mean; I’d rather no animal bodies be shamed, objectified, or exploited in any manner, thankyouverymuch.)

But that’s not to suggest that the Biscuit Holes campaign evens the scoreboard. As I told my husband, the “misandry” will only begin to rival the misogyny* once Hardee’s starts lacing its commercials with gratuitous close-ups of bouncing, disembodied balls being dunked into coffee mugs or casting hairy-chested, mankini-wearing men in its softcore necrophilic fetish ads – for the sex, not the funny. So far, Hardee’s is all talk, no (live) action.

Given Hardee’s long (long!) history of exploiting women to hawk their wares, Ben Mayo Boddie’s objection to the Biscuit Holes campaign – and, as best I can tell, only to the Biscuit Holes campaign – is all kinds of offensive:

The Rocky Mount, N.C., franchisee of Hardee’s restaurants, the company’s largest franchisee, is blasting the burger chain’s newest advertising campaign and says it will not place the spots in any of the markets in which it operates eateries.

In a letter responding to complaints from the Parents Television Council, Ben Mayo Boddie, chairman of franchisee Boddie-Noell Enterprises, states: “Thank you for your recent letter complaining about the biscuit hole advertising. I agree with you 100 percent. Why in heavens name does Hardee’s Food Systems and Mendelsohn Zien Advertising want to put Hardee’s in a category that diminishes not only the product but the brand itself?”

(More below the fold…)

Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 5

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Sarah Palin - Bear Skin

It’s been way too long since my last intersectionality roundup. Between work and drugs (settle down, I’m referring to the prescription kind!) I got a little distracted, with little-to-no time for blogging – or blog reading, for that matter. Thus, many of these links are a little older, as in the beginning of July old. No less interesting, just…they’ve probably been around the blocks a time or two. They still need some love and attention though, mkay?

Striking at the Roots: LGBT Compassion Campaigns for Social Justice

Mark Hawthorne interviews LGBT Compassion founder Andrew Zollman, touching upon animal rights, LGBTQ issues and the confluence of the two. (Y’all might recall that I wrote about LGBT Compassion in the last edition of ‘Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs.’)

Animals Rights @ Change .org: Butchers Are Hot. Blood Is Sexy. Killing Is Hip. This Is Not Progress.

No excerpt or explanation necessary. Expect this one to hit Feministing, since it celebrates women killers as well as their male counterparts.

Vegansaurus: The Fat Vegan, or OH HELL NO YOU DID NOT.

Vegan guru/purveyor of meals in a cup Dr. McDougall recently published an article in his newsletter titled “The Fat Vegan.” GREAT. Yet another thing to shame fat people into being embarrassed about their weight but this time from a vegan perspective. [...]

At the SF Pride Parade this year, there was a float from the folks at SF Bay Vegetarians, and it made me so proud to see such a diverse group of vegans, not just the stereotypical sallow honkies. We need people of all sizes, shapes and colors to fight against animal cruelty.

(More below the fold…)

Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 4

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

LGBT Compassion - Screenshot

LGBT Compassion

One of the newest additions to the “Intersections” category on my blogroll, LGBT Compassion is a

coalition of San Francisco Bay Area gay animal advocates (and some non-gay friends) working to promote awareness of animal welfare, health, environmental, and civil rights issues within our community – along with any other important social issues that we feel strongly about.

We feel that the LGBT community, having experienced discrimination, oppression and suffering ourselves, having special health issues, and often having unique bonds with companion animals, should be open to learning and helping others who may not be able to speak up for themselves – whether human or non-human.

Their motto: Fighting oppression and discrimination for all. Love it.

I first learned of the group through its investigation into San Francisco’s live animal markets, where chickens are kept and displayed for sale in plastic bags (!). If you haven’t yet, definitely go check ‘em out.

PETA Asia-Pacific: Urge Egypt’s Prime Minister to Stop Cruel Pig Cull

When I saw that PETA was campaigning against the pig culls in Egypt, I was excited. Last I checked, the WSPA had reached a standstill with the Egyptian government, which was insisting that the culls had ceased, despite evidence to the contrary. Writing about the issue at change.org, I wanted desperately to offers readers an opportunity to take action. But nada – until now.

When I actually read the sample letter provided by PETA, though, my heart sank. Rather than calling for an end to the culls, PETA asks the government to “Please place a moratorium on the pig cull until guidelines can be put in place to ensure that the killing is as humane as possible.” This despite the fact that the culls are wholly unnecessary – an inefficient way to guard against swine flu. And this comes not from animal advocacy groups, but government experts (such as those at the UN) – who, on the whole, aren’t really known for their animal-friendly views.

Add to the mix the possibility that the culls might have as much to do with religious discrimination as swine flu paranoia, and PETA really dropped the ball here. Not only has the group failed to defend the pigs from slaughter – it also failed to take the majority Muslim government to task for oppressing the minority Christian farmers. PETA even reinforces the government’s bigotry by pleading for a “humane” pig cull at a later date!

Oh, with friends like these…

(More below the fold…)

Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 3

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

I’ve been feeling kind of crappy since Friday, so I all I have to offer is this link roundup. Happy reading…or not.
 


 
Kelly Garbato @ Animal Rights @ Change.org: Egypt’s Pigs: Beaten, Stoned, and Burned Alive (Part 1) and Religious Discrimination and the Killing of Egypt’s Pigs (Part 2)

In my second round of guest posts at change.org, I look at the recent pig culls in Egypt, and explain how the mass killings may have less to do with concerns over the swine flu than with religious discrimination directed at the country’s Coptic Christians – as well as “their” pigs.

I, Bonobo: Guess who’s really at the bottom of the shitpile? and

Vegan Soapbox: Why Women Should Care About Animals

Bonobobabe and Eccentric Vegan both respond to a recent piece that appeared in the community section of Feministing. Not surprisingly, the author asserted that animal rights and feminism are unrelated movements, such that the animal rights movement has nothing to contribute to feminism and vice versa. Thus, it’s perfectly acceptable for good liberal progressive feminists to eat meat, wear fur and shit on animal advocates when they complain. I’m taking liberties, of course, but you get the idea.

Bonobobabe’s reply, in particular, is a must-read. I skimmed it over several times, trying to boil it down to an excerpt or two to illustrate her argument, but it’s all awesome. This about sums it up, though:

So, while I think it’s fine for a woman who calls herself a feminist to put her time and energy towards women-centered things, I also feel that if a feminist is supposed to be sensitive to class and race issues, that she should also be sensitive to speciesist issues. It’s not OK to say that you are better than an animal. Besides, hierarchies are the invention of men. Being a speciesist, even if one is a feminist, is playing by men’s rules. You’re better than that.

Hat tip to Stephanie for this one.

(More below the fold…)

Intersectionality ‘Round the Interwebs, No. 2

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

lol jayne - speciesism 101, pot 1

Kelly Garbato (that’s me!) @ Animal Rights at Change.org: Intersectionality 101: Sexism, Racism, Speciesism, and More and Intersectionality and Animal Advocacy

Stephanie at Change.org kindly invited me to guest post at the Animal Rights blog; Intersectionality 101 and Intersectionality and Animal Advocacy are my first contributions. This is a two-part post in which I introduce the concept of intersectionality, explain how intersectionality can help us better understand (and dismantle) our exploitation of animals, and argue for the inclusion of other anti-”ism” activism in the animal advocacy movement. Please stop by and share your thoughts!

Also worth checking out: the new(ly visible) “oppression connections” post category on Animal Rights.

Briar Levit @ Bitch Blogs: Nicole Georges pays tribute to the Queer Animal Kingdom

Last week, I noted how media such as Green Porno, by celebrating non-human animals in all their sexual diversity, has the potential to liberate and uplift animals of all species.

In this vein, Briar Levit introduces us to Nicole Georges, “a zinester, illustrator, and pet portrait artist” (and also a contributor to Bitch magazine), whose latest project is “an exploration of the Queer Animal Kingdom” – as explained in this documentary:

Nicole Georges 5/1/09 from cat on Vimeo.

As far as feminist media goes, Bitch seems to be the most animal-friendly magazine out there (with a very vocal – albeit minority – vegan/vegetarian readership!), so if you’re so inclined, you can check ‘em out here.

Igualdad Animal / Animal Equality: Press release about ‘The Running of the Nudes’ and PETA

Igualdad Animal (Animal Equality) describes itself as “an international non-profit organisation dedicating to gaining equal consideration and respect for animals. Founded in Madrid (Spain) in January 2006 by Sharon Nunez, Javier Moreno and Jose Valle, it is currently active in Spain, Peru, Venezuela and Colombia.”

In this press release, Igualdad Animal offers its thoughts on PETA’s upcoming annual anti-bullfighting demonstration, “The Running of the Nudes.” Not surprisingly, the group is unimpressed, both with PETA’s animal welfare efforts, as well as their poor record vis-à-vis marginalized groups of humans, including women.

(More below the fold…)

Why this vegan feminist is red hot for Green Porno.

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

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I’ve heard mention of Isabella Rossellini’s latest project, Green Porno, here and there – ecorazzi, The Colbert Report, CNN even – but never bothered to follow up, seeing as I don’t get the Sundance Channel and all. But an article in Bitch magazine’s Spring ’09 issue (No. 43, appropriately titled “the buzz issue”) made me take a second look.

In “Wings of Desire: Bug sex as a gender revolution,” Katura Reynolds examines the subversive nature of Green Porno (as well as British evolutionary biologist Olivia Judson’s alter ego, Dr. Tatiana): by depicting (non-human) animal sex in all its kinky, decidedly non-vanilla glory, these projects challenge our traditional views of what “natural” sexuality and gender expression look like in the animal kingdom.

“Bug sex” is so much more then heterosexual, missionary style pairings: bugs may be male, female, or hermaphrodites; heterosexual, homosexual or asexual; reproduce through sexual activity, parthenogenesis, or an alternative combination thereof; etc. (Some, like the preying mantis, even engage in sexual cannibalism, consuming their partners during coitus.) The same holds true for many animal species, humans included; for example, in his 1999 book, Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity (which I highly recommend, by the way), Bruce Bagemihl reviewed existing evidence which points to observed homosexual behavior in nearly 1500 animal species.

Green Porno, which is currently in its second season and airs on the Sundance Channel Tuesdays at 9 PM ET, is a bit cheesier and cheekier than its British cousin, – which is so raunchy that it’s not even available on Region 1 DVDs, let alone running on U.S. television. (You can, however, view a few clips of the show on You Tube.)

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Writes Reynolds,

The eight short films in [season 1 of] Green Porno were written by Rossellini and codirected with Jody Shapiro. They feature Rossellini acting out the sex lives of flies, praying mantises, earthworms, dragonflies, gees, fireflies, snails and spiders. The films are simultaneously hilarious, scientifically accurate, unrepentantly corny, compellingly sexy, and completely bizarre. [...]

Rossellini strives for a simple, childlike atmosphere in the films. She starts each in a bodysuit, saying, “If I were a [type of bug],” and then her costumes gradually build as the film progresses: extra arms, compound eyes, snail shells, you name it. The props and supporting characters are made from giant cut-paper sculptures, like she’s wandered into a kindergarten classroom plastered in giant paper flowers.

The schoolroom setting is chosen very deliberately – it’s a foil for overtly sexual content. Rossellini gets it on with huge paper models of flies, mantises, and bees; she gasps and moans in orgasmic ecstasy as a firefly and a snail; she runs around waving hands covered in paper cutouts of sperm as a spider. As stated in the press release, “If human, these acts would not be allowed to air on television. [Indeed, Dr. Tatiana’s human reenactments and live non-human animal footage is not.] They would be considered filthy and obscene.” But the silly costumes and absurd props distract audiences from the flagrantly, graphically sexual content. Comedy often serves as a harbor for the unspeakable. By laughing at the silliness of it all, we can disarm the taboo.

(More below the fold…)

Going silent.

Friday, April 17th, 2009

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Today is the Day of Silence,

a student-led national event that brings attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Students from middle school to college take some form of a vow of silence in an effort to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior. The event is designed to illustrate the silencing effect of this bullying and harassment on LGBT students and those perceived to be LGBT.

The DOS organizers explain:

As the Day of Silence approaches we’ve been getting lots of questions and comments along two similar but distinct threads on our various websites and in our email.

1) Do I need to be silent all day? Can I communicate at all? Can I blog/tweet/facebook?

2) Being silent doesn’t help and only perpetuates the problem. We should be speaking out.

The answer to both of these is similar: being silent has been and continues to be a very powerful way to create positive dialogue around the problem of anti-LGBT bullying for many students across the country. However, each person who participates in the Day of Silence has a different way of participating.

For some, the best way to participate is by being completely silent, including not participating in online communication. For others, the best way to participate is by spending the day speaking out about the issues of LGBT bullying. Some who participate get limited approval from their schools for their participation and so can only be silent during breaks between classes. There are many ways of participation ranging from complete silence to no silence.

The point is that the DOS is a day to bring attention to the problem of anti-LGBT bullying and each person who participates must determine how they can best use, or not use, their voice to do that. If you feel you will have the deepest positive impact by remaining completely silent and have the appropriate approvals to do so then go for it. If you feel that in your situation, you can have a deeper positive impact by speaking out then that should be your way of observing. No one can make that determination but you.

Your voice, whether silent or loud, WILL make a difference this Friday and the Day of Silence will speak volumes.

The DOS isn’t just for students, however. Adults can participate as well, by signing the pledge of solidarity; speaking out against anti-LGBTQ prejudice and bullying; observing a day of silence, whatever form that may take; Tweeting about the DOS; writing about the DOS on Facebook, your blog or similar; silencing your blog; and/or wearing red or rainbow-colored clothing.

In observance of the Day of Silence, easyVegan.info will remain silent for the rest of the day. Please take this opportunity to check out the Day of Silence blog and website, and educate yourself about LGBTQ issues.

(More below the fold…)

“NO ONE IS FREE WHILE OTHERS ARE OPPRESSED”

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

Nathan Runkle, founder of Mercy for Animals, was brutally assaulted last Saturday. Nathan is an openly gay man, and was apparently the victim of a hate crime.

From MFA’s press release:

Dayton, OH – Nathan Runkle, the 24-year old openly gay founder and Executive Director of the national animal advocacy organization, Mercy For Animals, was brutally assaulted on Saturday morning in an apparent hate crime. Runkle is a nationally recognized leader in the animal protection movement, who was recently named one of the world’s “25 Most Fascinating Vegetarians” by VegNews Magazine. The assault, which occurred at Masque, a gay night club in Dayton, Ohio, was completely unprovoked.

The attacker, believed to be a heterosexual white male with no previous relationship to the victim, has not yet been identified or apprehended. Runkle was briefly hospitalized after sustaining two facial fractures, a broken nose, deviated septum, and severe facial bruising. The incident has been labeled a felonious assault and is currently under investigation by the Dayton Police Department. Runkle believes the assault was motivated by hatred toward gays and was intended to send a fearful message to the local gay community.

Sexual orientation-motivated crimes are currently not addressed under Ohio hate crimes laws. The laws address only crimes motivated by race, color, religion, or national origin. Gay rights advocates have long urged state legislators to follow the lead of 31 other states who have already enacted specific legislation protecting gays from hate-based violence.

I’ve never met Nathan, but my heart goes out to him, his family and his friends. Hate is hate – and, for the life of me, I’ll never understand how humans can be so intolerant and cruel. In a word, this is heartbreaking.

As pattrice – who knows Nathan personally – observes,

A lot of people in the AR movement have been calling me, wondering what we can do. Gay bashing is a lot like rape in that it’s especially important to be mindful of what the victim wants when framing a response. So, first, we can all look out for what Nathan and Mercy for Animals say about what should be done. Next, we can use informed inference to figure out what else might be appropriate.

The press release says that Nathan wants sexual orientation included in Ohio’s hate crimes legislation. So, one thing that those of us who know and love — or just know of and respect — Nathan can do is join the effort to make that happen.

Next, we know that Mercy for Animals, as the press release states, “has long worked to bridge the gap between the common prejudices which lead to oppression and abuses faced by both animals and minorities.” MFA has marched in gay pride parades carrying a banner reading “NO ONE IS FREE WHILE OTHERS ARE OPPRESSED” and has picketed gay rodeos.

So, if you’re somebody who cares about or works on LGBTQ issues but has not (yet) integrated the animals into your analysis of oppression, let this attack on a gay man who has dedicated himself to animal rights motivate you to educate yourself about the connections. And, if you’re a straight animal liberationist or veg*n advocate who hasn’t thought deeply about your heterosexual privilege and what obligations you might have to divest yourself of that, let this near-deadly attack on a gay animal advocate remind you (if Proposition 8 and Obama’s selection of a homophobic preacher to speak at his inauguration did not) that homophobia is still alive and dangerous.

In both instances: Educate yourself about the intersections and then figure out how you might integrate what you learn into your activism and your daily life. Those of us who are already hip to that particular intersection ought to realize that there’s always more for us to learn too. Finally, all of us can be inspired by Nathan’s relentless activism and take up the charge to do just a little bit more while he’s recovering from this terrible trauma.

With so much suffering and oppression in the world, we all have to set priorities, decide which causes are most worthy of our time, money and support, and make some touch choices in the process. However, whether we choose to throw our resources behind animal advocacy, women’s rights, civil rights, GLBT rights, whatever – we must all remain mindful of our own privilege, whatever form(s) it may take, and refrain from engaging in and encouraging “isms,” if not actively campaigning against them. This means voting against hate-mongering legislation such as Proposition 8, encouraging Ohio to include sexual orientation in its hate crimes legislation and speaking out against homophobia in our daily lives. Especially when it emanates from fellow activists.

Violence is violence, no matter the target, and prejudice poisons us all. No one is free while others are oppressed.

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