intersectionality

Help needed for Ithaca-based Queer Conference

To the Ithaca community,

We are a committee of Cornell students interested in planning an Ithaca-based regional queer conference for the next academic year. We are making an open call for anyone in the larger Ithaca community to become involved with the planning and implementation of this conference. There are many ways you can get involved! If you’re interested, please fill out this survey (http://goo.gl/uIykV9) by March 30th at 11:59pm (if this message reaches you after that date, please fill it out anyways! We want to hear from you!). After we receive responses, we will schedule an open planning meeting during the second weekend of April. The easiest way to help, however, is to forward this message along. We hope you can help us spread the word that way!

The conference is expected to be hosted at the Cornell campus and run from a chosen Friday night until the following Sunday evening. It will include activists, speakers and performers from the local, regional and larger communities, and it will be open to all, regardless of sex, gender, sexuality, age, class, (dis)ability status, citizenship or any other aspect. Some of the goals of the conference are:

– To include, welcome and represent all forms of queerness. By queerness we understand all kinds of divergences from norms around sex, gender, sexuality, intimacy, pleasure, love, relationships, family and kinship.

– To create a safe space for queer people in the area to meet each other and share their knowledge and experiences.

– To address intersecting and hierarchical forms of oppression as they play out within and without the queer community.

– To create an environment conducive to critical examination of ourselves, our communities and the larger society.

Once again, please let us know if you would like to be involved. This is an intersectional and inclusive conference, and we think it is necessary to represent as many diverse backgrounds and perspectives as possible, so we can together create a safe and long-awaited space in our region that caters to the needs of the queer community at large.

For any questions, e-mail ithacaqueer@gmail.com.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Bailey Dineen
Betrearon Getachew Tezera
Justin Kondrat
Nathan Gelb-Dyller
Sam Naimi
Stephanie Hobbs
Xiana García Freire

Do you know how to listen?

I attended a free listening workshop here in Ithaca in 2011 that was really amazing. I went after I’d already been in Ithaca’s Talking Circles on Race and Racism — which are so wonderful, but so dependent on good communication. I really think I could have been a better listener (and a better white ally) if I’d attended the Listening Workshop before the Talking Circles!

The main idea is that usually, people aren’t really, truly listening to each other. They’re kind of waiting so they can speak. For instance, when someone says something about oppression, the other person isn’t necessarily listening with an open heart, ready to hear every painful detail — they’re usually going through a whole list of automatic, unhelpful responses (agreeing or disagreeing, questioning, giving advice, problem solving, thinking of a similar experience, coming up with reasons or explanations, etc. — there’s a list on our refrigerator!). The result is that we don’t actually hear what the other is saying. It takes awareness and practice to move away from these automatic responses, but I’ve got to say that it is well worth the effort. It really changed the way I communicate with people, for the better.

Think about what widespread adoption of this approach to communication could do for our world. Learning to be better listeners can only help our struggles for social and environmental justice. When someone speaks of their experience of racism or classism or heterosexism or sexism or any other oppression, it may stir up memories of things you read, or movies you saw, but that doesn’t mean that those are fit responses; the other is talking about their life, and now is not the time for anecdotes about movies, but for listening. Likewise, it might be painful to hear how we harm animals by not being vegan, but shouldn’t we at least listen to the voices of those we’re harming (via their proxies and spokespeople, those humans who can speak in words we can understand, who seem to have animals’ interests in mind)?

If you’re an activist, my guess is you’d like to be listened to. We have to be the change we want to see, so we need to work on our own listening.

Anyway, I can’t recommend these programs highly enough — and there happens to be a Listening Workshop SATURDAY, April 13th, 9am-12:30pm (they ask folks to please be 5 minutes early).

It will be held at the Ithaca Community Childcare Center (IC3), which is a really cool building at 579 Warren Road Ithaca, NY 14850 between the medical campus and Boces on Warren Road. Please bring snacks/beverages, and register at: www.thelisteningworkshop.com. It is 100% free.

Conference: “A Politics of Disability, Animal Liberation, and Queering”

dis-abled dog running with the help of wheels

Dear vegans of today: Thank you for being awesome. This is so incredibly far beyond anything that was happening when I was an 18-year-old baby vegan. How far we’ve all come!

1st Annual Conference “Engaging with Eco-ability”
Binghamton University, New York
April 27 and 28, 2013

Theme:
A Politics of Disability, Animal Liberation, and Queering

The 1st Annual Conference “Engaging with Eco-ability” will be hosted at Binghamton University April 27th & 28th, 2013. The conference will be organized and moderated by Anthony Nocella II and JL Schatz. The goal of this conference is to lay the groundwork for an edited book that’s part of the Critical Animal Studies series published by Lexington Books.

Sponsors include Binghamton University English Department, Binghamton University, Institute for Critical Animal Studies, and Students for Critical Animal Studies.

More info / RSVP on Facebook.

What do you have to say about the intersection of identity politics and speciesism?

dog-with-disabilityJust in from the Eco-ability Collective about a conference coming up on April 27th & 28th, 2013:

There’s a week and a half left to submit abstracts for the 1st annual Eco-Ability conference held at Binghamton University, which is set to explore the intersection of identity politics and speciesism. For more information check out our website at ecoability.wordpress.com

This sounds like an awesome event! The theme will be “A Politics of Disability, Animal Liberation, and Queering.” Proposals are due March 23, 2013.

The conference will help to lay the groundwork for a book that will be part of Lexington Books’ Critical Animal Studies series. Follow Earth, Animal, and Disability Liberation: The Rise of Eco-Ability on Facebook.

A sandwich that’s bad for everybody

Have you heard about this secret menu at McDonalds? How about the McGangBang? I hadn’t heard of it until the other day when it was mentioned casually in a slideshow of other fast food secret menu items on Huffington Post. Personally, I can’t imagine wanting such a thing, even back when I was an 18-year-old dedicated carnivore: Something about the name just feels wrong.

Thankfully, the fine feminist folks at Shakesville have done a great job of pointing out the sexism implicit in this sandwich name — a sandwich which, I’d like to point out, is neither good for women, or animals, or the men to whom this kind of thing is marketed (and who this kind of food is harming, with all of its saturated fat, cholesterol, and other nastiness).

Masculinity in the kitchen

In Do We Have The Courage To Raise Our Sons More Like Our Daughters?, Lynn Beisner tells a story about how changing gender norms have allowed her to continue a treasured family tradition of passing on a beloved (presumably non-vegan, but that’s not the point here!) toffee recipe — because her son was ready to take up the torch when her daughter wasn’t. She writes,

I love how my son is challenging all of the gender assumptions I didn’t even know I still had. I love that somehow, against all odds, I managed to raise a guy who cannot have his masculinity threatened because it does not reside in what other people think of him.

As I read this lovely post, I thought of all of the amazing vegan men I know, who are willing to stop eating animals, though so many human cultures seem to equate meat eating and dominance over nature with masculinity. I love that so many men are becoming so willing to help build a more equitable, peaceful, cooperative culture, in these different ways. Maybe the kitchen is a good place to start, since it’s a place where women and animals have been oppressed for a long time.

Maybe one day women won’t fear men, and animals won’t fear humans. Can we make that happen, together?

Vegans oppressing vegans

I know I’m oppressive at times, in my language and in my actions: I have white privilege though I’m of mixed race, I went to an ivy league school so I have academic privilege, I have acquired American and economic privilege that makes a lot of my vegan choices easier and more plentiful than they would be otherwise. And where there’s privilege there’s oppression, whether we intend it or not.

On that note, especially if you’re white and/or unaware of the concept of intersectionality, please check out this incredibly honest and insightful video from Breeze Harper (via Vegans of Color): Black Vegan Mammy-ism: Sacrificing My Emotional Health for the White Vegan Status Quo