This is, perhaps, my version of Social Justice 101. Including activist stuff, and including personal life whether you’re activist or not. A page to keep links. It’s going to be edited sometimes, I started it in July 2012 and the last edit when I remembered to say so was in April 2013.
Not your mom’s trans 101″. A concise, academic introduction to how to challenge our assumptions about sex and gender without making new ones, how to decrease transphobia in ourselves and start learning to be an ally.
Trans what? About 5 pages of info and advice for cis folks who want to be allies because they have a transgender person they care about.
How to do allyship work, from your personal life outwards
A friend of mine wrote an excellent post on Autism Acceptance Month, You and Me.
Disability Etiquette, from Stanford STATIC’s “Activist Guides”: Google-doc link
Creating Accessible Events: A Checklist is very comprehensive. It can also be overwhelming, to me, but is really good.
On chemical sensitivity. The famous post, How to be Fragrance Free by Peggy Munson. This seemed like a lot to me, but gradually one friend of mine made me realize that more food-based cleaning and hair products are not unreasonable or bad to use just because they’re hippie. Also, Fragrance-Free Femme of Color Realness has a lot of good perspective on why going fragrance-free is a good thing to do, not just another burden.
Three excellent posts that can guide white people in anti-racist work, or people of color in interacting with white allies. One is White Silence, and then a clarifying follow-up. Then there’s Brown Silence, intended for people of color. Since I’m white, it got me started thinking how to discuss race and work against racism in a way that will prioritize the mental health of people of color. A framework, that is, because what that means is different for each person and each relationship.
How to work with others as an intersectional activist
Stanford STATIC, the progressive online newsletter, has a page called Activist Guides. Some of these links actually come from that page.
I would say this post is about how to take part in social justice discourse. I am not my ideas by Crommunist, an anti-racist blogger in Vancouver, Canada. He addresses the point: “with many people it’s not possible to separate their ideas from their sense of self-worth.” This separation is key to working in intersectional activism, and being allies to each other though we have different privileges, and we’ve all absorbed biases from a culture of sexism, racism, ableism and so on.
This page explains what intersectionality is but doesn’t talk much about why it is needed.
In response to my request on here, Emily wrote Why intersectionality is necessary–thanks!
After some time of reading I now have a /lot/ of views on intersectionality, and I have two themes to take away. One: we must all learn about each other’s issues, because otherwise movements are divided and cannot work in solidarity with each other and so we cannot progress. Two: different oppressions bring each other out. I don’t remember where I read this expressed so clearly, but racism against women of color can be sexualized. It can be thought of as somehow more acceptable to be sexist against Black women, as happened when Quevenzhané Wallis was insulted at the Oscars, and not that many white feminists spoke up for her. (I found that out later, because everyone I talk to about social justice did indeed speak up for her; I don’t follow the most high-profile white feminists or mainstream feminist websites anymore.)
Earlier in this learning process, I got a lightbulb moment out of Shuffling feet: a black man’s view on Schroedinger’s Rapist. Made me realize that if more of feminism was conducted in conversation with anti-racism, especially in terms of decreasing racism against black men, it would be vastly improved in its content and in its ability to address feminist issues fairly, realistically, and in a way that makes white men not feel alienated.
More social justice reading
Also by Crommunist: an eight-part series on system justification theory. This is pretty abstract, but I cannot recommend it highly enough. It helps us understand how a culture that is biased towards one group will cause a variety of internal biases in members of the in-group and the out-group.
An introduction to Trans Misogyny by Natalie Reed, who is my favorite trans feminist writer–actually my favorite feminist writer–of all time. It’s not just that she has laid things out very well across many posts; it’s that she fosters a great environment for discussion on her blog, where people who disagree with each other manage to converse with a remarkable lack of hostility (compared to most places), and that her incisive analysis has led to a lot of people (mostly trans women, but other queer folks as well) feeling better able to be their authentic selves. For an example of the latter, just look at the awesome comments on this post.
A resource post for all the good white people. Use this to educate yourself if you’re white, and use the links from it to educate white people. The intro to this post is harsh-sounding, but so is racism.
Why I love My Little Pony by Natalie Reed: on symbols of a lost girlhood, on expressing the gender with the tools available, on pain and self-determination.
War, domination, exploitation
Some of this stuff is in more explicitly political language, and are topics that I have been slower to work on my opinions towards. It would take more than education for people to agree with me on these, so I guess I think of them as much more opinionated but following from the same basic principles.
In the wake of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal in the US, now cis LGB queer people, and trans people who avoid a medical diagnosis, can serve in the military. Some resources about why this is a bad thing.
Colonialism 101 by Haifisch Geweint, a Canadian settler
About pinkwashing and how Israel uses it, as well as a post by Saffo whom I’m glad to call my friend, which explains the level of violence that pinkwashing is expressing, that is if you can refer to the way people think as “violent”.
Posts written by Stanford students:
Because I have learned a lot from young people in this community.
On the Violence we do to ourselves by Aracely, specifically about her experiences as a Mexican-American woman.
Queer Rage is not 101-level at all, but it’s a beautiful and powerful spoken-word performance, in which Janani, Alok and Cam point out several ways that queer people of color are not well served by a white-dominated queer community, that one can learn more about.
The Weight of My Race by Kristian Bailey. An eloquent piece reflecting on the death of Trayvon Martin and subsequent events, their implications for the author personally as a young black American, and racism in the USA right now.
“Whipping Girl,” by Julia Serano. One of the best intros to trans feminism for would-be allies and trans people–the book addresses gender and feminism in a way that applies to everyone, cis or trans.
“Queer (In)justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States” by Joey Mogul, Andrea Ritchie, and Kay Whitlock. Within the first 20 pages, the historical viewpoint in this book made it clear to me how American-style racism was invented with the help of European-style sexism/queerphobia. But it does much more than that: tackles the prison system, the police system, the court system, the formation of tropes and archetypes used against queer people, and more, and it does this across centuries of US history.
“Sister, Outsider” by Audre Lorde. A collection of essays that is truly beautiful, powerful work. I particularly love her essay about difference, but it is an underlying theme of her work to love difference, and to learn from each other. The way I see it, if conversations about social justice always reflect all the bitterness of oppression, we will be worn down and unable to function. Audre Lorde models how to convey ideas in a way that is transformative and wonderful but in no way diminshes their importance or glosses over anything.