Vegans of Color

Because we don’t have the luxury of being single-issue

Gender policing has no place in AR/vegan movements December 3, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 3:34 pm
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A couple of weeks ago I read this post by Nathan Winograd, about why single-issue thinking is not appropriate for animal rescue advocates. Nathan Twittered about this New York Times article about teens who dress in gender nonconformative ways at school. He then received comments stating that he shouldn’t write about such things, as “it dilutes the support [he] receive[s] for the No Kill message.”

I have huge respect for Nathan; I think his book, Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation & The No Kill Revolution in America, is incredibly important (& unlike many in the animal rescue movement, he puts his money where his mouth is & is vegan). And people listen to him — so I am hoping his eloquent words will get more people to think:

I believe in No Kill. But I also believe in animal rights, human rights, gay rights, gender equality, and racial equality….

I believe that you must embrace compassion wherever and however it presents itself. That is who I am. And that is what I will promote publicly and privately. Compassion, compassion, compassion, compassion. For animals, for cross dressing kids, for that fly that President Obama should have left alone rather than killed. It is the unending drumbeat I will play until my time on this Earth is finished.

I know we can do better; that we can construct our communities in a way that is truly kind, fair, and compassionate to everyone—regardless of race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or species; that we can bring to our society the fullest expression of our common pledge to promote the general welfare for ourselves and our posterity, and I do not doubt that ultimately that pledge will be interpreted in ways which we—trapped in our own time—cannot even begin to imagine. History reveals this to be the case…. the arc of history not only bends toward greater compassion, but for greater compassion to a wider circle of groups; indeed, to include the planet itself. From that perspective, the No Kill movement is an extension of all that historical progress that has come before it, and will be an extension—and a part—of those movements yet to come that will push the envelope even further. Taking the long view, the issues are the same. I am not “off topic.”

On a related note, there is a very important series on Vegan Ideal about transphobia & cisgender privilege in our movements (part one, part two, & part three). I highly recommend these posts; please read them, because these issues are often handled in really problematic & oppressive ways.

 

Veggie Pride comes to the UK April 14, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 9:13 am
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Next month, the first Veggie Pride Parade in the UK (warning: extremely garish webpage) will take place in Birmingham.

I’m still not excited about the use of “pride” by veg*n groups.

 

Gay Animal Rights Activist Attacked in Ohio January 4, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 7:25 am
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Nathan Runkle, founder & executive director of Mercy for Animals, was brutally attacked recently at a gay nightclub in Dayton.

The press release states Nathan’s wish that sexual orientation be included in Ohio’s hate crimes legislation.

pattrice jones offers two posts about what people can do to help & how we — queer people, vegans, & allies (I note of course that these categories are not mutually exclusive) — can move forward from here:

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.

As the press release notes, Mercy for Animals brings an intersectional analysis to its work:

MFA has long worked to bridge the gap between the common prejudices which lead to oppression and abuses faced by both animals and minorities. In recent years MFA has joined gay advocates in gay pride marches by forming human rainbows preceded by banners declaring, “No one is free when others are oppressed.” The organization has also been a lead opponent of gay rodeo events, citing the community’s obligation to protect animals from needless violence.

I’m sure I speak for all the VoC bloggers in expressing sorrow & outrage at this attack, & in wishing Nathan the best.

 

Two Quick Links July 26, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 7:59 pm
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I have two or three posts that have been bubbling away in my brain for a while — hopefully I’ll get to writing up at least one of them soon — but I just wanted to pass on these links:

Via Noah, Dani at the Vegan Ideal has a sharp critique for the recent call for proposals about queers & AR. They bring up some really important points about the ties between the AR movement & the prison-industrial complex — probably not the ties you might expect — & how this impacts POCs & the poor.

Via Joselle, a post on Feministing about being a veg*n of color (which links here — thanks, Grace!), which also talks a little about Seoul in particular.

 

What Does “Veggie Pride” Look Like? May 18, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 3:43 pm
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A little while ago I just returned from the Veggie Pride Parade, about which I was a little dubious previously. Comments on that post expressed concern about the concept of “pride” being appropriated from queer culture.

That honestly hadn’t occurred to me (even as a queer person) earlier, but I was reminded of it now partly because of the issue of whether or not vegans themselves are oppressed — discussed recently on this blog here & here, & also from VoC readers on their own blogs here & here. I come down more on the side that vegans are not oppressed, for the reasons delineated in some of those links.

Anyway, given that, my unease with the idea of veggie “pride” grew. I actually think the idea of the parade is really neat, & a fabulous way to get a lot of people thinking about these issues. I saw numerous people actually looking at the literature being handed out, & I witnessed at least one conversation about veg*nism — although the person was defending her use of happy meat. (I did, also, see some guy walking by sort of chanting, “Meat! Meat! Meat!” — so I called him an asshole, because clearly I am a Mean Vegan. But I’m getting ahead of myself.)

But “pride”? The concept of GLBT pride grew out of years of cultural & historical violence & repression, not to mention religious & cultural hatred. Like, hey, I’m gay & it’s okay, or even better, something to be proud of! The concept of ethnic pride (& you know I’m not talking about “white pride”) runs along similar lines.

The concept doesn’t work for me for veg*ns, though. Hey, call the parade New York Goes Veg Parade or New York Veggie Day Parade or something. But, yeah, I’m not on the “veggie pride” bandwagon. This doesn’t mean that I’m not, actually, proud of being vegan; I am. But culturally & politically, the idea of pride parades & that history being appropriated for a group such as veg*ns does not sit right with me.

Anyway — the actual parade. I was at the corner of 8th Street & Sixth Avenue, & when the parade (finally) came into view, all I could hear was “Go veg! Go veg! Go veg!” over & over. I’m glad they switched in some other chants later on, because it was a little silly to be chanting that for a minute straight. Another thing I thought of was that, sheesh, in future marches they really need some music. There was one guy shaking maracas but that seemed to be it. I know, from dealing with the NYC Pride Parade bureaucracy, that getting a permit for a car or truck (that could support a sound system) is costly, but with all the corporate sponsors they got, surely a few hundred bucks could’ve been spared? Or recruit folks for a veg*n marching band or something! Every parade needs music!

All this sounds very cranky, I know. But I was actually touched as the parade went by. I think they took about 10 minutes to walk by, which was pretty impressive in my view. I was expecting a lot of the stereotypical tattooed hipster veg*ns (because, hey, NYC & especially Greenwich Village has been known to have a lot of them), & there was a contingent.

However, I was pleasantly surprised to see more POCs than I expected (not that the tattooed hipsters weren’t sometimes POCs of course!) — although to be frank, my expectations were, of course, low. But there was one quite large group that was predominantly (East) Asian (I think, based on a conversation I had with one of their members, mostly Chinese). Although it turns out they were from Supreme Master TV. Which seems a bit, er, confusing & odd to me. Their group did have a ton of neat pro-veg signs, though, & I can’t tell you how excited I was to suddenly see a big bunch of Asians in the parade!

Here’s a photo:

Supreme Master TV contingent

There were also a lot of kids in the parade, including these folks:

POC veg*n kids at Veggie Pride Parade

Yay for POC veg*n kids! Even though I still despise the whole “Miso ___!” thing.

I followed the parade to its end in Washington Square Park, made a quick tour of the exhibitors in order to score requisite free stuff, & managed to come home before it really started raining. And thus ends my combo report/critique. I’ll leave you with a shot of the Meat Eater’s Colon, as seen in the parade (love the colostomy bag, don’t you?):

Meat Eater\'s Colon

 

Reading Up on International AR Work April 26, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — johanna @ 11:49 pm
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I’ve recently discovered that Abolitionist Online has published a lot of articles about AR work being done around the world. Here are just a few:

Happy reading.

 

 
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